Sorbus aucuparia

The Rowan is one of Britain’s most beautiful trees, with lovely white flowers forming in May. The leaves change from green to red, combined with a shock of red berries in the autumn.



The tree has been connected to witchcraft from ancient times and its name comes from the Norse word runa, or charm. In more modern times it is linked to protecting houses, crops and livestock from witches or faeries. The Rowan has many other names including the Witty, Quickbeam or more commonly the Mountain Ash.

Rowan flowers

Rowan trunk

Rowan trunk


  • In olden times a jelly made from the berries was taken on long sea voyages to prevent scurvy, a very painful condition caused by a lack of vitamin C
  • Aucuparia means ‘of bird catchers’ as the fruit was used as bait for this in ancient times

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