English whitebeam

Scientific name: Sorbus anglica

Status: Nationally rare. IUCN – Near Threatened. British and Irish endemic.

Flowering time: Creamy-white flowers in May and early June. Red berries from September – October.

Description: Small tree growing 10 -15 metres high with broad dark-green rounded lobed leaves with feathery veins underneath. Small crimson fruits. Found in open vegetation/scrub on narrow ledges, quarry and rock faces.

Social history: The earliest specimen of this species was described by W. A. Leighton in 1836.

Taxonomy: Rosaceae (or rose) family. Thought to have originated as a hybrid between Sorbus aucuparia (rowan) and Sorbus porrigentiformis (grey-leaved whitebeam).

Global and national distribution: Scattered distribution in southwest England and Wales. Also found in one location in southwest Ireland.

Threats: Requires open sunny sites.

Photographs: © Denice Stout, © Avon Gorge & Downs Wildlife Project.