Sorbus koehneana Schneid.

TSO logo


Kindly sponsored by
This genus has been sponsored and new text is being prepared.


Article from Bean's Trees and Shrubs Hardy in the British Isles

Recommended citation
'Sorbus koehneana' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online ( Accessed 2024-07-20.



  • Pyrus koehneana (Schneid.) Cardot


(pl. calyces) Outer whorl of the perianth. Composed of several sepals.
A collection of preserved plant specimens; also the building in which such specimens are housed.
(pl. apices) Tip. apical At the apex.
Immature shoot protected by scales that develops into leaves and/or flowers.
Lacking hairs smooth. glabrescent Becoming hairless.
globularSpherical or globe-shaped.
Loose or open.
midveinCentral and principal vein in a leaf.
Egg-shaped; broadest towards the stem.
Odd-pinnate; (of a compound leaf) with a central rachis and an uneven number of leaflets due to the presence of a terminal leaflet. (Cf. paripinnate.)
Central axis of an inflorescence cone or pinnate leaf.
Generally an elongated structure arising from the ovary bearing the stigma at its tip.
(var.) Taxonomic rank (varietas) grouping variants of a species with relatively minor differentiation in a few characters but occurring as recognisable populations. Often loosely used for rare minor variants more usefully ranked as forms.


There are no active references in this article.


Article from Bean's Trees and Shrubs Hardy in the British Isles

Recommended citation
'Sorbus koehneana' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online ( Accessed 2024-07-20.

A deciduous shrub or small tree to about 15 ft high in the wild; young shoots glabrous, turning very dark; scales of bud often hairy. Leaves pinnate, 2 to 4 in. long on the flowering twigs, up to 6 in. long on the barren ones, with mostly eight to twelve pairs of leaflets; rachis slightly hairy at first, grooved and narrowly winged in the apical part. Leaflets oblong to narrowly oblong-ovate, parallel-sided, up to 114 in. long, 316 to 516 in. wide, obtuse to subacute and often finely mucronate at the apex, glabrous on both sides except for some hairs on the midrib beneath, sharply and slenderly toothed. Flowers about 38 in. wide, borne in lax sparsely hairy clusters 2 to 3 in. long and wide. Calyx-lobes triangular, glabrous outside, downy within. Fruits globose, porcelain white, about 14 in. wide, the stalks becoming reddish.

Native of western China, extending to western Hupeh, where it was discovered by Henry. Wilson introduced it, probably from near the Hupeh-Shensi border, when collecting for Messrs Veitch (W.1098). Purdom sent seeds from Shensi in 1910, and plants cultivated on the continent probably derive from Giraldi’s collections in the same province. A plant of S. koehneana was bought by Kew at the winding-up sale of Messrs Veitch’s Coombe Wood nursery, but the true species has never been widely cultivated in this country. It is allied to S. ursina, but the leaflets are smaller and more glabrous, the hairs when present are white, and the fruits are purer white.

Plants seen under the name S. koehneana in some British collections are not that species and probably to be called S. setschwanensis Koehne. This is a very glabrous species, with leaves 2 to 4 in. long, the leaflets in up to fifteen pairs, not more than 12 in. long except on strong shoots. Inflorescences very sparsely branched and few-flowered. Fruits white, about 516 in. wide. The provenance of these plants is unknown. They are quite pretty in autumn when the leaves turn russet, but are of ugly, sparsely branched habit, the majority of the leaves being borne on clustered spurs at the ends of the branches. S. prattii is in similar style and more ornamental.

Some plants distributed to collections as S. koehneana, raised from Forrest seed, are S. vilmorinii.

From the Supplement (Vol. V)

S. setschwanenis (Schneid.) Koehne S. vilmorinii var. setschwanensis Schneid. – In the third paragraph on page 439 mention was made of this species, distributed as S. koehneana. Young plants under the name S. setschwanensis, which are now to be seen in many gardens, are from seeds collected by Roy Lancaster on Mount Omei (Emei Shan) in 1980. No specimens from this mountain are mentioned by Koehne in Plantae Wilsonianae, but there are several in the Kew Herbarium, from gatherings by Faber, Wilson and the Chinese botanist Fang.

Plants from this new introduction are very ornamental, with ferny foliage which is copper- or bronze-coloured at first, turning crimson in autumn. Fruits red, white when ripe, on slender red stalks. The cultivated plants are of shrubby habit, slenderly branched from the base, thus agreeing with the wild ones, which were manystemmed and 10–12 ft high and wide.

S. setschwanensis was originally described by Schneider in 1906 as a variety of S. vilmorinii, from a specimen (provenance unknown) collected by Augustine Henry. It is in fact only distantly related to that species, but little was known of the Sorbus species of China at that time.

Very closely related to S. setschwanensis is S. unguiculata Koehne, described from specimens collected by Wilson in the Kangding area. The differences between them are slight and probably not correlated.