When does this bloom?
June-July (bloom) Sep-Oct (berry)
Where does this bloom?
Higher elevation spruce-fir forests, Mt. Mitchell, Mt. Pisgah.
The tree species Sorbus americana (syn. Pyrus americana) is commonly known as the American Mountain-ash. It is a relatively small (height 12 meters / 40 feet) deciduous perennial tree, native to northern North America and the Appalachian Mountains. Its conspicuous white spring flowers and winter persistent orange fruit make it one of our most recognizable trees.
- Bark: Light gray, smooth, surface scaly. Branchlets downy at first, later become smooth, brown tinged with red, lenticular, finally they become darker and the papery outer layer becomes easily separable.
- Wood: Pale brown; light, soft, close-grained but weak. Sp. gr., 0.5451; weight of cu. ft., 33.97 lbs.
- Winter buds: Dark red, acute, one-fourth to three-quarters of an inch long. Inner scales are very tomentose and enlarge with the growing shoot.
- Leaves: Alternate, compound, unequally pinnate, six to ten inches long, with slender, grooved, dark green or red petiole. Leaflets thirteen to seventeen, lanceolate or long oval, two to three inches long, one-half to two-thirds broad, unequally wedge-shaped or rounded at base, serrate, acuminate, sessile, the terminal one sometimes borne on a stalk half an inch long, feather-veined, midrib prominent beneath, grooved above. They come out of the bud downy, conduplicate; when full grown are smooth, dark yellow green above and paler beneath. In autumn they turn a clear yellow. Stipules leaf-like, caducous.
- Flowers: May, June, after the leaves are full grown. Perfect, white, one-eighth of an inch across, borne in flat compound cymes three or four inches across. Bracts and bractlets acute, minute, caducous.
- Calyx: Urn-shaped, hairy, five-lobed; lobes, short, acute, imbricate in bud.
- Corolla: Petals five, creamy white, orbicular, contracted into short claws, inserted on calyx, imbricate in bud.
- Stamens: Twenty to thirty, inserted on calyx tube; filaments thread-like; anthers introrse, two-celled; cells opening longitudinally.
- Pistil: Two to three carpels inserted in the bottom of the calyx tube and united into an inferior ovary. Styles two to three; stigmas capitate; ovules two in each cell.
- Fruit: Berry-like pome, globular, one-quarter of an inch across, bright red, borne in cymous clusters. Ripens in October and remains on the tree all winter. Flesh thin and sour, charged with malic acid; seeds light brown, oblong, compressed; cotyledons fleshy.
Fruit – raw or cooked. Rich in iron and vitamin C. The fruit is used mainly in making pies, preserves etc, but it can also be eaten raw after a frost because it turns sweeter then. The fruit has a high tannin content and so should only be used in moderation if eaten raw. It can also be dried and ground into a meal. The fruit is produced in dense clusters and is up to 8mm in diameter.
Wood – soft, light, close grained, with little strength. It weighs about 34lb per cubic foot and is of no commercial value.