Sorbus ursina (G. Don) Schauer

TSO logo

Sponsor this page

For information about how you could sponsor this page, see How You Can Help

Credits

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

Recommended citation
'Sorbus ursina' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online (treesandshrubsonline.org/articles/sorbus/sorbus-ursina/). Accessed 2020-09-25.

Genus

Synonyms

  • Pyrus ursina Wall. ex G. Don
  • Sorbus foliolosa (Wall.) Spach, in part
  • Pyrus foliolosa Wall., in small part only
  • S. foliolosa var. ursina Wenzig
  • S. ursina var. wenzigiana and S. wenzigiana (Schneid.) Koehne, in part

Glossary

herbarium
A collection of preserved plant specimens; also the building in which such specimens are housed.
inflorescence
Flower-bearing part of a plant; arrangement of flowers on the floral axis.
pome
Fleshy fruit with leathery core. Typical of Rosaceae subfamily Maloideae (e.g. Malus).
receptacle
Enlarged end of a flower stalk that bears floral parts; (in some Podocarpaceae) fleshy structure bearing a seed formed by fusion of lowermost seed scales and peduncle.
Tibet
Traditional English name for the formerly independent state known to its people as Bod now the Tibet (Xizang) Autonomous Region of the People’s Republic of China. The name Xizang is used in lists of Chinese provinces.
acute
Sharply pointed.
apex
(pl. apices) Tip. apical At the apex.
appressed
Lying flat against an object.
aristate
Bearing a stiff awn.
authority
The author(s) of a plant name. The names of these authors are stated directly after the plant name often abbreviated. For example Quercus L. (L. = Carl Linnaeus); Rhus wallichii Hook. f. (Hook. f. = Joseph Hooker filius i.e. son of William Hooker). Standard reference for the abbreviations: Brummitt & Powell (1992).
deltoid
Triangular.
flush
Coordinated growth of leaves or flowers. Such new growth is often a different colour to mature foliage.
glabrous
Lacking hairs smooth. glabrescent Becoming hairless.
herbarium
A collection of preserved plant specimens; also the building in which such specimens are housed.
hybrid
Plant originating from the cross-fertilisation of genetically distinct individuals (e.g. two species or two subspecies).
indumentum
A covering of hairs or scales.
inflorescence
Flower-bearing part of a plant; arrangement of flowers on the floral axis.
midrib
midveinCentral and principal vein in a leaf.
obtuse
Blunt.
ovoid
Egg-shaped solid.
imparipinnate
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.)
rachis
Central axis of an inflorescence cone or pinnate leaf.
reticulate
Arranged in a net-like manner.
truncate
Appearing as if cut off.

References

There are currently no active references in this article.

Credits

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

Recommended citation
'Sorbus ursina' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online (treesandshrubsonline.org/articles/sorbus/sorbus-ursina/). Accessed 2020-09-25.

A tree to about 20 ft high in the wild, or sometimes a shrub; young growths at first sparsely hairy, becoming light brown or grey-brown, furnished with a few large, pale lenticels; winter buds ovoid, 14 to 38 in. long, reddish brown, glabrous except for brown hairs at the tip. Leaves pinnate, with eight to eleven pairs of closely set leaflets; rachis deeply grooved, with the same indumentum beneath as the midribs of the leaflets. Lateral leaflets oblong, mostly 78 to 114 in. long, the middle pairs the longest, obtuse and finely aristate at the apex, rounded to truncate at the base, finely and closely serrated in the upper half, dark green, glabrous and finely reticulate above, glabrous beneath on the blade, but the midrib at first densely coated with a mixture of brown, spreading hairs and shorter more appressed white ones and retaining some hairs mostly of the latter kind, until autumn. Stipules deltoid, laciniated, seen only on strong branches. Flowers white, opening late May, about 38 in. wide. Inflorescence 4 to 5 in. wide, branched in the upper part, rusty-hairy at flowering time, almost glabrous by autumn, sparsely lenticellate. Receptacle soon glabrous. Styles four or five. Fruits at first green tinged with purple, pure white when mature except for a pink flush at the tip, about 38 in. wide.

Native of the Himalaya from the Simla area eastward and of southeast Tibet (Pome, Kongbo), with related but untypical forms in north Burma and Yunnan. The name Pyrus ursina was given in the catalogue to a set of specimens in the Wallich Herbarium, and was first validated by George Don in his General History of Dichlamydeous Plants in 1832. His description is probably based on the specimen collected by Wallich himself in Nepal, which was in unripe fruit, whence no doubt Don’s innaccurate statement that the fruits are red; the other specimens in the set were collected in Kumaon. It was apparently not introduced to Britain until Col. Donald Lowndes collected seeds in Nepal in 1950, from which plants were raised by Messrs Hillier and propagated by grafting (distributed as Sorbus sp. Lowndes). The above description is made from these trees, which are quite typical, but some wild plants have a denser and more persistent indumentum on the undersides of the leaves and more acute leaflets. More distinct is var. wenzigiana Schneid., in which the leaflets are not only more densely indumented with brown hairs but are unusually narrow and acutely tapered, toothed only near the tip.

Col. Lowndes’ introduction of S. ursina is perfectly hardy and vigorous, though far from being so ornamental as S. vilmorinii or S. hupehensis. The leaves do not colour in autumn, though they do so on some wild trees.

S. himalaica Gabrielian – This interesting and probably very ornamental species was described by the Russian authority on Sorbus Eleanora Gabrielian in 1971, the type being a specimen collected in Nepal by Stainton, Sykes and Williams in 1954. She groups it with S. ursina, from which it differs most obviously in its larger, pink-tinged flowers almost 12 in. wide, the relatively narrower leaflets and the red fruits, as well as in other more technical characters. The herbarium specimens cited by the author for this species range from just east of Kashmir, through Nepal, Sikkim and Bhutan to southeast Tibet. It is not known to be in cultivation (1979).

S. rehderiana Koehne – This species was described from specimens collected by Wilson in W. Szechwan in the vicinity of Kangting (Tatsien-lu). It is evidently closely allied to S. ursina, but more glabrous, with more pointed somewhat longer leaflets and relatively longer and narrower inflorescences. A remarkably constant character is the thick, dark young wood. It ranges as far south as Yunnan, perhaps to north Burma, and west into Tibet, where it was collected by Ludlow and Sherriff sixty miles north of Lhasa. In var. cupreonitens Hand.-Mazz., described from Yunnan, there are light brown hairs on the midribs of the leaflets, the underside of the rachis and in the inflorescence. It appears to be intermediate between S. rehderiana and S. ursina.

Wilson sent seeds of S. rehderiana in 1908 and again in 1910, but it is not known to be in cultivation. Plants distributed in the 1930s under this name do not even remotely resemble the true species, and appear to be a hybrid of S. aucuparia.

Feedback

A site produced by the International Dendrology Society.

For copyright and licence information, see the Licence page.

To contact the editors: info@treesandshrubsonline.org.