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 ellipsoidalis is an excellent rowan, one of those recognised in cultivation (at Bodnant), originating from Yunnan, China. It is a good small tree for the garden at all times, with delicate foliage, but it is particularly good in Autumn, when the fruits ripen to white, looking wonderful against the foliage, which becomes golden and then orange.
||1 litre pot|
||Early summer, fruit in autumn|
||any good garden soil|