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Sorbus americana (American mountain ash)
Martin, Edwin M.

Sorbus americana

Sorbus americana Marshall

American mountain ash, American mountain-ash

Rosaceae (Rose Family)

Synonym(s): Pyrus americana, Pyrus microcarpa

USDA Symbol: SOAM3

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N), SPM (N)

American mountain-ash is a small, ornamental tree usually 15-20 ft., but reaching 30 ft. in favorable places. The tree may be reduced to a shrub in higher elevations. The crown is narrow, open and round-topped. Pinnately-compound, deciduous leaves occur on bright-red leaf stalks and turn golden-orange in the fall. The small white, flowers are held in flat-topped clusters and are followed by broad clusters of bright, coral-red berries. Small tree with spreading crown or a shrub with many stems, and with showy white flowers, and bright red berries.

 

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Tree
Leaf: Green
Autumn Foliage: yes
Flower:
Fruit: Red, Orange
Size Class: 12-36 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White
Bloom Time: May , Jun

Distribution

USA: CT , GA , IL , MA , MD , ME , MI , MN , NC , NH , NJ , NY , PA , RI , SC , TN , VA , VT , WI , WV
Canada: NB , NL , NS , ON , PE , QC
Native Distribution: Nf. to Man., s. to PA & the Great Lakes region; also mts. to GA
Native Habitat: Cool, moist, open areas; granitic outcrops

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry , Moist
CaCO3 Tolerance: Low
Soil Description: Cool, moist, acid soils.
Conditions Comments: Mountain ash is usually short-lived due to fire blight, mildew, and borers as well as a number of other diseases and insects. In cultivation this species does best in the northern part of its range and at high altitudes. Young stems and thin bark need protection from winter browsers.

Benefit

Use Wildlife: Berries attract birds.
Use Food: The fruits (fresh or dried) contain iron and vitamin C. They are also acidic and rich in tannins, however, and should be eaten in moderation. (Kershaw)
Warning: The seeds of this plant are reported to be poisonous, and those of its close relative Mescalbean (S. secundiflora) can be deadly. Sensitivity to a toxin varies with a personís age, weight, physical condition, and individual susceptibility. Children are most vulnerable because of their curiosity and small size. Toxicity can vary in a plant according to season, the plantís different parts, and its stage of growth; and plants can absorb toxic substances, such as herbicides, pesticides, and pollutants from the water, air, and soil.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Attracts: Birds

Propagation

Description: Plant seed in the spring. Germination is sporadic and probably will not take place until the following spring.
Seed Collection: Clean as soon as collected.
Commercially Avail: yes

Value to Beneficial Insects

Special Value to Native Bees

This information was provided by the Pollinator Program at The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.

National Wetland Indicator Status

Region:AGCPAKAWCBEMPGPHIMWNCNEWMVE
Status: FACU FACU FAC FAC
This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

From the National Suppliers Directory

According to the inventory provided by Associate Suppliers, this plant is available at the following locations:

Edge of the Woods Native Plant Nursery - Orefield, PA
LAMTREE FARM - Warrensville, NC
American Native Nursery - Quakertown, PA

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is either on display or available from the following:

Mt. Cuba Center - Hockessin, DE

Bibliography

Bibref 841 - Native Alternatives to Invasive Plants (2006) Burrell, C. C.

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Additional resources

USDA: Find Sorbus americana in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Sorbus americana in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Sorbus americana

Metadata

Record Last Modified: 2007-01-01
Research By: TWC Staff

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