Friday, December 12, 2014

Sorbus aria – Whitebeam

General Information
Common Name Whitebeam
Scientific Name Sorbus aria
Sun Tolerance Full Sun
Height 10 - 25 m (33-82 ft)
Spread 6 -8 m (20 - 30 ft)
Growth Rate Fast
Bloom Time Spring
Color Green,
Flower Color White
Type Tree
Native Europe, USA
Kingdom Plantae – Plants
Subkingdom Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
SuperdivisionSpermatophyta – Seed plants
Division Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
Class Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
Subclass Rosidae
Order Rosales
Family Rosaceae – Rose family
Genus Sorbus L. – Mountain Ash
Species S. aria

Sorbus aria – Whitebeam
Sorbus aria common name is Whitebeam. It is a rather small tree usually found on the fringes of woodlands, or in untended hedgerows or on crags. It is particularly at home on chalk and limestone soils and is fairly common on the Cotswold’s, the North Downs and the Chiltern Hills. It is probably best known for the conspicuous white underside of its leaves.
The young shoots soon become smooth and turn through reddish-brown to shiny and deep brown and eventually grey, marked by numerous small, pale-colored, wart-like lenticels. The twigs branch at an acute angle. The large greenish ovoid winter buds are pointed, with usually some brown or purple on the scales. The tree unfolds its leaves in pleasing erect cup-shaped groups, appearing glistening white due to a dense coating of white hairs on the exposed lower surfaces. When expanded, the leaves are oval, generally gently curved at both base and apex, and have many pairs of straight veins. The margin is toothed and the upper surface, unlike the lower, is rather dull green and almost hairless. The faded pale grey leaves of autumn strew the floor below the tree, creating almost a mystic purplish-grey sheen.
The flat-topped inflorescence, which opens in May, has showy white bi-sexual flowers almost half an inch across, gathered into loose clusters. They are succeeded by almost round, dark green, hairy ‘bloomed’ fruits, which change to colors varying from orange-red to deep scarlet (usually the latter), the surface being marked by lenticels.
The bark is greenish-grey, and smooth except in old trees, when it becomes fissured and salty-grey. The wood is yellowish-white, finely grained. fairly hard, heavy and strong, but is of little economic importance. The word ‘beam’ is the Saxon equivalent for tree.
An intermediate race, the Swedish Whitebeam, S. intermedia, has lobed leaves with toothed edges; it is common in north-east Scotland.

Sorbus aria – Whitebeam

Sorbus aria Young Plant

Whitebeam Leaves

Sorbus aria – Whitebeam - White back side of leaves

Sorbus aria Leaves

Leaves of Sorbus aria – Whitebeam

Sorbus aria – Whitebeam Bark

Sorbus aria – Whitebeam Flowers

Flowers of Sorbus aria – Whitebeam

Fruits of Sorbus aria – Whitebeam

Sorbus aria – Whitebeam Full Tree

Sorbus aria – Whitebeam


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Unknown said...

We have a whitebeam tree which has been very healthy until last spring when it suddenly died after having a show of lush foliage. On close inspection of the trunk it is peppered with woodworm type drillings from top to bottom. Any ideas would be appreciated.

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