Hupeh Mountain-Ash – Sorbus hupehensis

Hupeh Mountain-Ash – Sorbus hupehensis
This compact tree's delicate, fern-like foliage makes an ideal ornamental for gardens and specimen plantings.
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Hupeh Mountain-Ash folaige

Pinnate leaves, up to 15cm long, each with up to 15 ovate, blue-green leaflets turn a vivid scarlet red in autumn. In spring corymbs of white flowers are borne from which the spherical fruit form later, initially white before ripening to dark pink. (1)

Compact medium-sized deciduous tree with leaves composed of about 11 oblong, blunt, bluish-green leaflets. Creamy-white flowers followed by rosy-pink or white fruits. Sorbus hupehensis grows best in moderately fertile, humus-rich soil that is moist but well drained and slightly acidic.

It needs full sun but does not like intense heat and should be watered well and mulched during periods of dry weather. Pruning, if necessary, should be done in early spring or winter. Tolerant of atmospheric pollution, and suitable as specimen trees in small gardens in the city. They are also ideal for wild or woodland gardens [1].
The Sorbus genus covers about 190 different species of deciduous trees and shrubs, found mainly in northern temperate regions, in woodland, on hills, mountains and on scree. Sorbus species and cultivars are prized for their ornamental qualities. Their leaves are decorative, and may be either simple or pinnate, and often color well in autumn. Their flowers are a second plus point. They grow as terminal corymbs of small, white or rarely pink flowers in spring and early summer. These are followed by round or oval berries that may be white, yellow, orange, red or brown.
There are two types of Sorbus. The first belong to Section Aria and include the whitebeams. They have simple leaves that often have serrated margins and are sometimes lobed. The leaves are ordinarily white or silvery beneath giving them a shimmering look when blown by the breeze.

Hupeh Mountain-ash - Sorbus hupehensis
Hupeh Mountain-Ash, is 12 years old [4]

The plants of the second type belong to Section Aucuparia and include mountain ashes. Sorbus hupehensis belongs in this section. These plants have pinnate leaves, giving them a fern-like appearance; the foliage turns shades of red and yellow in autumn. In the spring, they produce clusters of cream-colored flowers, which are followed by bunches of attractive berries that are usually brilliant red, but may be white, pink, orange, or yellow. (1)

The showy white flowers appear in early summer, and the abundant orange fruit appear in summer, persisting through winter. Fruit provides palatable browse for many animals and birds, but is not suitable for human consumption, except, perhaps for various folk remedies; the plant is not toxic.(5)

The mountain ash and related species (most often the European Mountain ash, Sorbus aucuparia) are sometimes referred to in folklore as "Rowan" trees, but this use has almost disappeared from the modern lexicon. The rowans were thought by the Celts and other primitive peoples of The British Isles to have magical properties.

"Mountain ash, 1804, from prowan-tree, rountreep (1548), northern English and Scottish, from a Scandinavian source (cf. O.N. reynir, Swed. Ronn "the rowan"), ultimately from the root of pred, in reference to the berries. The rowan "was the tree most often credited with protective magical powers against all effects of witchcraft, not merely in Celtic areas but throughout Britain." — Oxford Dictionary of English Folklore

1. Royal Horticultural Society Plant Selector, (1)
2. Checker Tree Mountain-Ash, Morton Arboretum accession 614-83-1 photos by Bruce Marlin
3. University of Michigan, Native American Ethnobotany
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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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