Chinese Mountain-Ash - Sorbus pohaushanensis (Hance) Hedl.
Rose Family: Rosaceae | Rosaceae Index |
The Chinese Mountain ash is a multi-stemmed tree native to Northern China. To 45 feet / 15 meters.
Chinese Mountain-ash
Morton Arboretum accession 311-81-1 was started from seed 27 years ago.
Mountain-Ash are also commonly called "Rowan" in the Old World countries of Europe and Great Britain. Mountain ashes make excellent ornamental specimens. Their bright orange berries contain sorbic acid, which takes its name from the genus. Rowan berries can be made into tart jams and jellies, popularly served with game.

Rowans in Superstition and the Supernatural
The rowan has a long tradition in European mythology and folklore. It was thought to be a magical tree and protection against malevolence. Rowan wood supposedly makes good "magician's staves", and its branches were often used in dowsing rods (rhabdomancy). Rowan was carried on vessels to avoid storms, kept in houses to guard against lightning, and even planted on graves to keep the deceased from haunting. It was also used as protection against witchcraft and sorcery.

Often birds' droppings contain rowan seeds, and if such droppings land in a fork or hole where old leaves have accumulated on a larger tree, such as an oak or a maple, they may result in a rowan growing as an epiphyte on the larger tree. Such a rowan is called a "flying rowan" and was thought to be especially potent against witches and their magic, and as a counter-charm against sorcery.

In Finland and Sweden, the number of berries on the trees was used as a predictor of the snow cover during winter.

Of course, all of these topics are purely myth and folklore - none of these beliefs have any basis in reason or science.


Rowan Foliage and Flowers
"Trees are essential elements of livable communities and a healthful environment. They are not only beautiful, they carry out many beneficial environmental functions. Trees absorb carbon dioxide, the major greenhouse gas (up to 50 pounds per tree each year), and release oxygen. They shelter and provide nesting habitats for wildlife, retain moisture in soils, hold topsoil in place, and provide shade and cooling.

Trees also provide fruits, nuts, oils, and syrups; pulp for paper, cloth, and rope; and wood for innumerable products and heat. Trees provide both direct and indirect economic benefits. Air-conditioning costs are less in a tree-shaded home, and heating costs are reduced when a home has properly selected and placed windbreaks. Beyond energy savings, landscaping with mature trees increases the value of property.

Indirect economic benefits extend beyond the individual to the community or region. Customers pay lower electricity bills when power companies use less water in their cooling towers and fewer measures to control air pollution. Communities also save money if fewer facilities must be built to control storm water.

Trees make the world more beautiful. They add color, structure, height, and grace to our neighborhoods, parkways, and streetscapes. Trees also neutralize the harshness and stress of urban life. They enrich our lives. Our forests, woodlands, parks, and preserves help us feel more relaxed and serene. A day or even an hour in the woods can help us feel rejuvenated. Trees are magnets for wildlife, which also add beauty, value, and interest to our world.

City and suburban trees often serve several architectural functions. They provide privacy, frame views, and screen out objectionable sights. They reduce glare and reflection, direct pedestrian traffic, and provide background for and soften, complement, or enhance architecture or topography." --From The Morton Arboretum "Go Green"


Chinese Mountain-ash Flowers
References
1. NCGR Corvallis
2. USDA Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN)
3. USDA National Agricultural Library
5. University of Michigan, Native American Ethnobotany
6. USDA Natural Resources Conservation Services Threatened and Endangered Species (Illinois)
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Family Rosaceae - Rose Family; Fruit Trees
Containing hawthorn, apple, pear, cherry, plum, peach, almond, mountain-ash and whitebeam. Many of these plants are of vital economic importance, the fruit of which contain vitamins, acids, and sugars and can be used both raw and for making preserves, jam, jelly, candy, wine, brandy, cider and other beverages.
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