Sorbus domestica L. - Service tree, sorb tree.

Taxonomic position.

Family Rosaceae Juss. genus Sorbus L.


Mespilus domestica All., Pyrus domestica Smith, P. sorbus Gaertn.

Morphology and biology.

Deciduous tree, 4-10 m high, less frequently a shrub. Bark is gray, rough. Buds are naked, sticky. Leaves are alternate, odd-pinnate, with 7-10 pairs of leaflets. Petioles are more or less tomentose. Leaflets are oblong-lanceolate, sharply serrate along the edge, smooth and green from above. The inflorescence is a dense corymb, 6-10 cm in diameter, broadly pyramidal. Sprigs of the inflorescence are covered with tomentum. Flowers are up to 1.5 cm in diameter, pentamerous, with strong bitter almond-like flavor. The calyx is quinquepartite, woolly, later naked. Petals are white, roundish, with hairy brushes at the base. Fruits are almost round or pear-shaped, large-sized, greenish-yellow or red, often fulvous-red. Seeds are flattened, with almost sharp edges.
Entomophilous. Ornito- and zoochore. Blossoms in May; fruits ripen in September/October. 2n = 34.


Mediterranean Region, Balkan Peninsula, south of Central Europe, mountainous parts of the Crimea, Asia Minor.


Mesophyte. Photophilous. Grows as single plants or in small groups in the undergrowth of oak, hornbeam-oak and beech-hornbeam forests. Ascends the mountains up to 800-1000 m above sea level.

Utilization and economic value.

Food and ornamental. Fruits are used to prepare jams and drinks. Wood is used in woodworking and carving, for making craftwork, tools and tableware. Valuable for hybridization with the best forms of mountain ash.


Brezhnev, D.D., Korovina, O.N. 1981. Wild relatives of cultivated plants in the flora of the USSR. Leningrad: Kolos, pp.226-227. (in Russian).
Komarov, V.L. 1939. Sorbus L. (Flora of the USSR.) Moscow/Leningrad: Publishing House of the USSR Academy of Sciences, vol. 9, pp.374-375. (in Russian).
Sokolov, S.I., Svjaseva, O.A., Kubli, V.A. 1980. Areas of distribution of trees and shrubs in the USSR. vol.2. Leningrad: Nauka, p.63 (in Russian).

© I.G.Chukhina.

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