Rowan, mountain ash (ROW)

Sorbus aucuparia

Native range

Native throughout Britain and over much of northern and west Europe.

Provenance choice

There is little knowledge of provenance variation so seed should be sourced from British stands of good form wherever possible.

Site requirements

This is a light demanding pioneer species which often grows in mixture with other broadleaves or on the edges of conifer stands. It is cold hardy, frost tolerant and can withstand severe exposure, even if it does not grow to a large size. It is very palatable to browsing animals such as deer so that multi-stemmed trees are common. However, occasional large diameter stems can produce valuable timber. It grows best on soils of poor to medium nutrient status and of slightly dry to moist moisture status, including alkaline soils of good rooting depth. It is not suited to wet or very wet soils or those of very poor nutrient status.

Pests and pathogens

Can be killed by fireblight (Erwinia amylovora) and is also susceptible to silverleaf (Chondrostereum purpureum) which can be a progressive and often fatal disease.

Various mites cause galls and blistering on leaves.


Its current widespread distribution in Britain is unlikely to change with climate warming.