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A small tree in the wild, which in gardens has been confused with S. hybrida, from which it is obviously distinct in having leaves with five (more rarely four) pairs of free leaflets, which are subacute to obtuse at the apex, narrowed and adnate to the rachis at the base; the upper part of the leaf, which is in effect a terminal leaflet, is lobed, the lobes decreasing in depth upwards, and more or less rhombic in outline. Flowers about 1⁄2 in. across. Fruits orbicular, about 1⁄2 in. wide, with a bitter flesh.
A native of southern and western Norway. It is a tetraploid apomict, considered by Liljefors to have three sets of chromosomes from S. aucuparia and one from the Aria group. It was introduced by Messrs Hillier in the late 1970s and so far as is known had not previously been in cultivation in Britain. A sorbus once in commerce under the name is S. hybrida, and there has also been confusion between S. meinichii and seedling forms of S. × thuringiaca (S. × semipinnata).
Similar to S. meinichii is S. teodori Liljefors, described in 1953 and named in honour of Teodor Hedlund, the authority on Sorbus. It has mostly four pairs of free leaflets with broader bases, acute at the apex, a terminal ‘leaflet’ narrowly cuneate at the base, and sweet fruits narrowed towards the apex. It is a triploid apomict with two sets of chromosomes from S. aucuparia, one from the Aria group, and is confined to Faro Island, Götland, Sweden. It is in cultivation in the Edinburgh Botanic Garden.