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 helenae is a vigorous shrub or small tree with bold, pinnate leaves with five pairs of leaflets on quite thick stems. In autumn it has prominent, flat-topped clusters of large, white fruit. It is a rarity, collected years ago from near the top of the famour Mount Omei (Emei Shan) in Sichuan.
||3 litre pot|
||Spring, fruit in autumn|
||sun or part shade|
||any good garden soil|