This genus includes the rowans (mountain ash) and whitebeams, and this present group consists of the rowans, technically known as the Aucuparia section. These are small, graceful trees or shrubs with attractive foliage, which in the rowans is usually pinnate, toothed or lobed and provides good autumn colour. In spring or early summer they produce dense corymbs of frothy white or pinkish flowers, which are followed by fruit varying in colour depending on the species. Many species are apomictic, i.e. self-fertile, and so seedlings are clones of the parent. For this reason there are many species, groups of which can be similar to one another.
Sorbus muliensis is relatively quickly growing (for a rowan), adding 30 cm or more in a year, and eventually becoming a small tree. It was collected by George Forrest in Muli, in the Chinese province of Sichuan. It has about 7 pairs of serrated leaflets on each leaf, the very slightly greyish green of which is offset by the red-brown stems and the big clusters of rich deep pink, almost red, fruit.
||3 litre pot|
||Early summer, fruit in autumn|
||any good garden soil|