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Shrub or tree to 8 m. Branchlets to 0.3 cm diameter. Buds red, ovate, to 1.5 cm long with reddish brown hairs at the apex. Leaves to 21 cm long, with 12–14 pairs of leaflets. Leaflets 2.7–2.9 × 1.1–1.5 cm, margins serrated in the upper half or three-quarters. Fruit crimson or white with crimson flecks, 1 × 1.2 cm and glabrous; calyx lobes fleshy with a distinct midrib, carpels three to four (to five). Tetraploid apomict. McAllister 2005a. Distribution CHINA: Yunnan (Zhongdian). Habitat Scrub on steep slopes. USDA Hardiness Zone 6. Conservation status Not evaluated.
This species is known only from one collection; its description is necessarily brief therefore, and its natural distribution and variation may be more extensive. It is very closely related to the shrubby Sorbus apiculata McAll., which achieves 5 m and is known only from CLD 310, but differs primarily in its bright crimson fruits (pearly white in S. apiculata). The single collection of S. amoena was made at about 3400 m asl northeast of Zhongdian by the Chungtien, Lijiang & Dali Expedition of 1990 (CLD 311), and more material is needed for both botanical and horticultural study. It is grown in a few collections where seed from the expedition was raised, including Dawyck, Ness and the Hillier Gardens, and is now commercially available in the United Kingdom. McAllister (2005a) notes that it and the related S. apiculata are very drought-tolerant, and that both have good red-orange colour in autumn; he accords it the tribute of considering it to be one of the most beautiful species in the genus. Apparently the area from which these two apomictic microspecies were collected has now been ‘developed’, so both are now likely to exist only in cultivation (D. Patterson, pers. comm. to H. McAllister).