Sorbus minima (Ley) Hedl.

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

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'Sorbus minima' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online ( Accessed 2023-06-03.



  • Pyrus minima Ley
  • Sorbus intermedia var. minima (Ley) Bean


(pl. apices) Tip. apical At the apex.
Taxon that reproduces only or regularly by apomixis.
(pl. calyces) Outer whorl of the perianth. Composed of several sepals.
(of a plant or an animal) Found in a native state only within a defined region or country.
IUCN Red List conservation category: ‘there is no reasonable doubt that the last individual [of taxon] has died’.
Lacking hairs smooth. glabrescent Becoming hairless.
globularSpherical or globe-shaped.
Flower-bearing part of a plant; arrangement of flowers on the floral axis.
midveinCentral and principal vein in a leaf.
Almost globose but flattened at apices; subglobose.
Leaf stalk.
Diamond-shaped. rhomboid Diamond-shaped solid.
(of a leaf) Unlobed or undivided.


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

Recommended citation
'Sorbus minima' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online ( Accessed 2023-06-03.

A shrub to about 10 ft high in the wild, with slender, spreading branches. Leaves simple, elliptic or oblong-elliptic, 238 to 314 in. long, about half as wide, narrowed at the apex, cuneate to rounded at the base, glabrous above at maturity and dull green, grey-tomentose beneath, lateral veins in mostly eight or nine pairs, margins sharply serrated, lobed, the lobes extending about one-quarter of the way to the midrib; petiole about 12 in. long. Flowers white, barely 38 in. wide, in narrow, round-topped clusters; the whole inflorescence white-tomentose, but the receptacles rather more densely so than the peduncles and pedicels. Anthers cream-coloured. Fruits scarlet, freely borne, globose to oblate, 38 in. or slightly less wide, sparsely dotted with lenticels; calyx-lobes still dry when the fruit is ripe.

S. minima is a British endemic, known only from limestone cliffs above Crickhowell in Breconshire and one locality about two miles farther west; described by Ley in 1895. It is an apomictic triploid species, deriving from S. aucuparia and some member of the Aria group, probably S. rupicola.

S. arranensis Hedl. S. intermedia var. arranensis (Hedl.) Rehd. – Very like the preceding in foliage, but the leaves less straight-sided in outline, elliptic or rhombic-elliptic, more deeply lobed, the lobes extending one-half to three-quarters the way to the midrib and on the average with one more pair of lateral veins. There is little difference in the flowers or fruits. S. arranensis is an endemic of the Isle of Arran known since the early 19th century but confused with S. intermedia and S. hybrida until Hedlund distinguished it. It too is a triploid apomict probably of the same parentage as S. minima. Although now extinct there S. rupicola is known to have grown on the island in the last century.

Although not ranking high as an ornamental these two species are of graceful habit and attractive both in flower and fruit besides being of interest as endemic British species with no counterpart on the continent except in Norway. Of the Norwegian species S. lancifolia Hedl. is in cultivation in Britain and has about the same garden value as our species.

Another British endemic in this group is S. leyana Wilmott known only from one locality in Breconshire. For this see Clapham Tutin and Warburg Flora of the British Isles.