Colin Mills, compiler of the Hortus Camdenensis, died in late November 2012 after a short illness. As he always considered the Hortus his legacy, it is his family's intention to keep the site running in perpetuity. It will not, however, be updated in the near future.

Sorbus aucuparia L.

Fully-hardy conical to rounded tree with pinnate leaves, to 20cm long, composed of up to 12 lance-shaped, sharply-toothed leaflets, and corymbs, to 12cm across, of white flowers in spring, followed by orange-red berries.  To 15m.  [RHSE, Hortus. Hilliers’].

Horticultural & Botanical History

An ancient garden plant.  ‘Many superstitious qualities are attributed by the Scottish Highlanders to their Roan-tree, which is especially famous as a protection against charms and witchcraft.  The fruit, soaked in water to extract some of its bitterness, and then boiled with sugar, makes a kind of jelly, which is tolerably flavoured.  A spirit is also reported by Lightfoot to be distilled from these berries.  Birds of the Thrush kind devour them with avidity; and our Mountain Ash trees, planted for ornament in most parts of England, are thus unfortunately stripped, early in autumn, of their produce.’  [Smith - The English Flora vol.II, p.365/1828].

Saint-Hilaire Arb. pl.85/1824.

History at Camden Park

Listed in the 1850 and 1857 catalogues [T.943/1850].


Sorbus aucuparia Stell. = Pyrus sambucifolia Cham. & Schltdl.

Sorbus aucuparia Poir. (1806) = Pyrus americana Cooper

Published Feb 06, 2010 - 04:37 PM | Last updated Aug 12, 2010 - 06:15 PM

Figured are pinnate leaves and terminal bunch of bright red berries.  Saint-Hilaire Arb. pl.85, 1824.

Sorbus aucuparia L. | Saint-Hilaire Arb. pl.85/1824 | BHL

Family Rosaceae
Region of origin

Europe, Asia

  • Pyrus aucuparia Gaertn. 
Common Name

Mountain ash, Rowan

Name in the Camden Park Record

Sorbus aucuparia 

Confidence level high