Wild service-tree

Sorbus torminalis

Native range

Native to southern Britain and western and southern Europe.

Provenance choice

There have been no provenance trials in Britain so plants should be from sources of local origin or from the near continent.

Site requirements

This is a light demanding early successional species which is generally found as an isolated individual or group of trees in broadleaved woodland; large diameter trees are highly valued for their timber. It is adapted to warm climates with > 600 mm rainfall per year. Best growth will be obtained on sites of medium to very rich nutrient regime and of fresh 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 but can tolerate drier conditions more than other broadleaves.

Pests and pathogens

Can be affected by fireblight (Erwinia amylovora) and silverleaf (Chondrostereum purpureum) which can be a progressive and sometimes fatal disease.


With climate warming, more sites in lowland Britain may become suitable for this species.