Mountain Ash

Mountain Ash (also known as Rowan) is a fast-growing pioneer species. It grows to a modest height (rarely in excess of 10m tall). It is tolerant of cold and of poor soil conditions. It can grow at a higher altitude than any other tree in the UK (hence the name Mountain Ash and like the Ash it has a compound, pinnate leaf). Mountain Ash belongs to the genus - Sorbus, and is a member of the Rosaceae.


The leaf is a long, compound, pinnate leaf with 9 - 15 paired leaflets. Each leaflet is serrated with many small teeth along the edge. There are small, grey hairs on its underside which are shed later in the year. The leaves turn a bright gold / orange/red colour in the autumn.

Buds, Bark & Stem

Buds are ovoid, with a touch of purple coloration. The bark has a silvery-grey to brown colour; it is smooth (and shiny when wet). Dark lenticels (breathing pores) are visible on young shoots.

Flowers and Fruits

Creamy white scented flowers with five petals (about 1cm diameter) are borne in dense clusters. The flowers, when pollinated and fertilised, form bright red berries in August & September. The berries are soft and juicy {containing 2 to 8 seeds); they are a good food source for birds, particularly waxwings and thrushes. The birds expel the rowan seeds in their droppings. which are often eaten by birds, .