Borbas Rowan Sorbus borbasii

👤 Non-toxic to humans
🐾 Non-toxic to pets
🌸 Blooming
🍪 Edible
‍🌱 Easy-care
Borbas's rowan


Sorbus borbasii, more commonly known as the Rowan or Mountain Ash, is a deciduous plant that boasts a variety of visually striking features throughout the year. In spring and early summer, it becomes adorned with clusters of small, creamy-white flowers that grow together in dense, flat-topped structures known as corymbs. These flowers not only add to the plant's aesthetic but also attract numerous pollinators, such as bees and butterflies. As the season progresses, the flowers give way to berries that start green but ripen to a bright red or sometimes orange color in late summer through to the autumn. These berries are a hallmark of Rowan species and are typically small and spherical; they are not only visually appealing but also serve as an important food source for birds and other wildlife in the cold months. The foliage is another feature of note, with compound leaves that are typically a rich green, imparting a lush appearance during the growing season. They are made up of several leaflets arranged on either side of a central stem, giving them a feather-like structure. The edges of these leaflets are often toothed or serrated, and in the autumn, the leaves turn vibrant shades of red, orange, and yellow, providing a striking contrast to the dark berries and adding to the plant's ornamental appeal. The bark of the Rowan is generally smooth with a silver-gray to light brown color, and can become more textured with age. Its overall structure shows a balance of both aesthetic delicacy with its fine-textured leaves and flowers, and rugged hardiness, characteristic of plants that thrive in mountainous or cooler regions.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      Borbas' Rowan, Ural False Spirea

    • Common names

      Sorbus chamaemespilus, Sorbus graeca, Pyrus borbasii.

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      The plant Sorbus borbasii, commonly known as the Hungarian Whitebeam, is not widely known for its toxicity to humans. There is limited information available, and the fruit of many Sorbus species is used in jellies and similar products. However, as with many plants, the seeds may contain small amounts of cyanogenic glycosides which can release cyanide when digested. Accidental ingestion of seeds in small quantities is unlikely to cause harm, but consuming large amounts could potentially lead to symptoms of cyanide poisoning, which can include nausea, headaches, dizziness, confusion, and in severe cases, respiratory failure and death. Always exercise caution and consult with a professional before consuming any wild plants.

    • To pets

      Sorbus borbasii, or the Hungarian Whitebeam, is not specifically documented for its toxicity in pets. However, it is important to note that the seeds of Sorbus species can contain cyanogenic glycosides, which can be harmful if ingested in large quantities. If a pet was to eat a considerable number of seeds, they might exhibit symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, difficulty breathing, and lethargy. In the worst-case scenario, large amounts of cyanide could lead to more serious symptoms including seizures, coma, and potentially death. It is advisable to prevent pets from consuming any part of this plant, especially the seeds, and to seek veterinary care if ingestion is suspected.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      15-20 feet (4.5-6 meters)

    • Spread

      10-15 feet (3-4.5 meters)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area



  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Ecosystem support: Sorbus borbasii provides food and habitat for a variety of wildlife species, including birds and insects.
    • Ornamental use: With its attractive foliage, flowers, and berries, it is often used in landscaping for aesthetic purposes.
    • Soil stabilization: The root system can help to prevent soil erosion on slopes and in areas prone to land degradation.
    • Carbon sequestration: Like other trees, it captures carbon dioxide, contributing to the mitigation of climate change.
    • Biodiversity promotion: By being a part of various ecosystems, it supports a diverse range of plant and animal life, contributing to the overall biodiversity of an area.
    • Seasonal Interest: It provides seasonal color and interest with its spring blossoms and autumnal berry and leaf color changes.

  • medicalMedical Properties

    This plant is not used for medical purposes.

  • windAir-purifying Qualities

    This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.

  • leavesOther Uses

    • Sorbus borbasii wood can be used in the creation of small wooden objects such as spoons, handles, and ornaments due to its fine grain and workability.
    • The berries of the Sorbus borbasii can be used to make natural dyes for textiles, yielding colors from green to brown depending on the mordant used.
    • Leaves of the Sorbus borbasii, when dried, can serve as an ingredient in potpourri blends for their subtle scent and decorative quality.
    • Infusions made from the bark of Sorbus borbasii can be used as a natural wash for wooden furniture, both to clean and to enhance the wood's natural patterns.
    • During autumn, the vibrant foliage of Sorbus borbasii can be collected and pressed to create nature-inspired artworks or used in seasonal decorations.
    • The tree can be planted as part of a mixed wildlife hedge to offer refuge and food sources for birds and insects.
    • Sorbus borbasii can be used in bonsai culture, being particularly appreciated for its attractive autumn coloring and berry display.
    • The plant's symmetrical growth habit and aesthetic appeal make it a suitable candidate for ornamental topiary in formal gardens.
    • Fallen leaves from Sorbus borbasii can be collected to add to compost heaps, contributing to the nutrient content of the compost.
    • The Sorbus borbasii tree can provide a natural screen or windbreak in garden designs, thanks to its dense canopy.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    The Rowan Tree is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    The Rowan Tree is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Endurance: The Sorbus borbasii, commonly known as the Hungarian Service Tree, typically grows in harsh environments, representing the ability to withstand difficulties and persevere.
    • Protection: In folklore, the Hungarian Service Tree is sometimes considered a protective entity, believed to guard against misfortune and evil spirits.
    • Purity: The white flowers of the Hungarian Service Tree are often associated with purity and innocence, symbolizing clarity and virtue.

Every 1-2 weeks
500 - 2500 Lux
Every 3-5 years
Spring-early summer
As needed
  • water dropWater

    For the European Rowan, ensure the plant receives regular watering, especially during dry spells, averaging about 1 inch of water per week. Use a soaker hose or drip irrigation system for deep watering, which helps in developing a strong root system. During the growing season, you may need to water the tree a couple of times per week, depending on the weather conditions and soil moisture. Over the winter, reduce watering as the tree will enter a dormant phase and require less water.

  • sunLight

    The European Rowan thrives best in full sunlight to partial shade. It prefers at least 6 hours of direct sunlight a day, but it can also adapt to less light if necessary. Make sure to plant it in a spot where it can receive unfiltered sunlight throughout the day for optimal growth.

  • thermometerTemperature

    European Rowan trees are hardy and can tolerate a wide range of temperatures. They can survive in temperatures as low as -30°F and can handle heat up to around 85°F. The ideal temperature range for the European Rowan is between 50°F and 70°F, which promotes healthy growth.

  • scissorsPruning

    Prune the European Rowan to maintain its shape and health. Remove any dead or diseased branches, and thin out crowded areas to increase air circulation. The best time to prune is in late winter or early spring before new growth starts, typically once a year or as needed to maintain its structure.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    For a Borbas' Rowan, a well-draining soil mix comprising loam, sand, and organic compost is best, with a slightly acidic to neutral pH of 6.0-7.0.

  • plantRepotting

    Borbas' Rowan trees do not typically require frequent repotting and can be repotted every 2-3 years, or as necessary for pot-bound trees.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Borbas' Rowan prefers moderate humidity levels but is quite adaptable and can tolerate varying humidity conditions.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Ensure bright light, cool conditions, and moderate watering for Borbas' Rowan.

    • Outdoor

      Plant in well-draining soil, full sun to partial shade for Borbas' Rowan.

    • Hardiness zone

      5-8 USDA.

  • circleLife cycle

    Sorbus borbasii, commonly known as 'Borbas' Rowan', begins its life as a seed, which after stratification germinates in early spring. The seedling gradually develops into a young plant, forming a deep taproot and establishing its first true leaves. As it matures, the plant enters the vegetative stage, where it experiences significant growth of branches and foliage, and develops a sturdy woody stem. Once the Borbas' Rowan reaches maturity, it enters the reproductive phase, typically flowering in spring with a display of white blossoms that attract pollinators. Following pollination and fertilization, the flowers develop into clusters of small red-orange pomes (fruit), which mature in late summer to autumn, providing food for wildlife and completing the life cycle when seeds are dispersed. This perennial tree can live for several decades, annually repeating the cycle of flowering and fruiting.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Spring-early summer

    • The most popular method of propagation for Sorbus aucuparia, commonly known as Rowan or Mountain Ash, is through seed sowing. Seed propagation is generally carried out in autumn following seed collection. Once ripe berries are harvested, the seeds are extracted and cleaned from the pulp. Stratification is recommended which involves mixing the seeds with a moist substrate, like sand, and storing them in a refrigerator at approximately 33 to 39°F (1 to 4°C) for 90 to 120 days to break dormancy. After stratification, the seeds are sown in well-drained soil in a cold frame as temperatures rise in spring. Seeds require light to germinate, so they should be sown on the soil surface or lightly covered with soil. Germination can be slow and irregular, often taking 18 months to occur, therefore patience is essential when propagating Rowan by seeds.