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Sorbus decora (Northern mountain ash)
Brundage, Stephanie

Sorbus decora

Sorbus decora (Sarg.) C.K. Schneid.

Northern Mountain Ash, Northern Mountain-ash, Showy Mountain-ash

Rosaceae (Rose Family)

Synonym(s): Pyrus americana var. decora, Pyrus decora

USDA Symbol: sode3

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

A 25-50 ft. tree with a narrow crown and ascending branching. Branches low to the ground. Foliage is pinnately-compound with a blue-green, summer hue. Autumn color is yellow-orange to reddish-purple. Terminal clusters of white blossoms are followed by heavily drooping clusters of glossy, red or orange berries.


From the Image Gallery

8 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Tree
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Fruit Type: Pome
Size Notes: Up to about 50 feet tall.
Autumn Foliage: yes
Fruit: Red

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White
Bloom Time: May , Jun


USA: CT , IA , IL , IN , MA , ME , MI , MN , NH , NY , OH , PA , VT , WI
Canada: MB , NB , NL , NS , ON , PE , QC
Native Distribution: Lab. to n. Ont. & s.e. Man., s. to n.w. MA, NY, n. OH, WI & MN
Native Habitat: Wet to mesic woods; cool, moist slopes; lake shores

Growing Conditions

Light Requirement: Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
Soil pH: Circumneutral (pH 6.8-7.2)
Soil Description: Any poor- to well-drained, wet to mesic soil.
Conditions Comments: Fire blight and borers are serious problems. This is also a very weak-wooded tree. It is difficult to find reliable sources of native species of mountain ash.


Use Wildlife: An intermediate source of food for songbirds, waterfowl and small mammals.x
Warning: Seeds are toxic and can be fatal to children if eaten. 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.
Attracts: Birds

National Wetland Indicator Status

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.

Web Reference

Webref 3 - Flora of North America (2014) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.

Additional resources

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


Record Modified: 2022-09-26
Research By: TWC Staff

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