Friday, August 14, 2015

Meet the Mountain Ash - (Sorbus americana / Sorbus decora)

 The Mountain Ash -Sorbus americana / Sorbus decora- is a small deciduous flowering tree or shrub. It is native to Eastern Canada, the Northeastern US, North-Central US (Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin), and a small portion of the South Eastern United States along the Appalachian Mountains. It occurs naturally in valleys, on upland slopes and within coniferous forests - but can be grown as an ornamental as well. The Mountain Ash is often compared to the similar European Rowan which has been naturalized in many portions of North American where the Mountain Ash is native.

Image Citations (Photos 1,2 & 3): Bill Cook, Michigan State University, 

The Mountain Ash produces large clusters of berries that remain even through Winter (unless eaten by birds). These berries are a favorite of Grouse, American Robins, Thrushes, Waxwings, Jays, Squirrels, and Rodents. The leaves have 11-17 toothed leaflets growing across from on another on a single stem. The flowers appear when the leaves are fully formed (May - June) with five separate creamy White petals and a butter colored center. The bark is a light grey in color, smooth to the touch and scaly with age. The leaves appear as a yellow green during the growing season changing to an almost transluscent yellow in the Fall.

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