White’s whitebeam

Scientific name: Sorbus whiteana

Status: Nationally rare. IUCN – Endangered

Flowering time: White flowers June. Red berries from September – October.

Description: This tree grows to at least 10 metres tall with greyish-brown bark and characteristic kite-shaped leaves. Leaves vary in size between locations – in rocky locations leaves are smaller than in woodland locations.

Social history: First described by Bristol botanist J. W. White in 1920. Only identified as a separate species in 2006, and named after him.

Taxonomy: Rosaceae (or rose) family. Originated as a hybrid between Sorbus aria (common whitebeam) and Sorbus porrigentiformis (grey-leaved whitebeam).

Global and national distribution: Endemic to England and Wales in the Avon Gorge and Wye Valley.

Threats: Favoured habitat is cliffs and steep slopes. Susceptible to disease.

Photographs: © Denice Stout, © Libby Houston.