Esserteau's Rowan Sorbus esserteauana

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


The plant known commonly as Sorbus esserteauana is characterized by its ornamental qualities which are particularly appreciated in horticulture. The most prominent feature of the plant is its attractive foliage that changes with the seasons. The leaves are pinnate, meaning they consist of multiple leaflets arranged on either side of a common axis, giving them a feather-like appearance. In spring, the leaflets emerge with a fresh green color, which then transitions to vibrant shades of red, orange, or purple in the autumn, offering a striking display of fall color. Alongside its colorful foliage, the plant produces clusters of flowers during the springtime. These blossoms are typically white and small, forming dense, flat-topped groupings that hold a certain allure for bees and other pollinators. Following the flowering period, the plant bears fruit in the form of small berries. The berries usually take on a red or orange hue as they mature, and these colorful fruits add another layer of visual interest to the plant while also providing a food source for local bird species. Overall, Sorbus esserteauana carries a refined and decorative look, with its seasonal changes in leaf color, clusters of spring flowers, and autumnal berries making it a beloved addition to gardens and landscapes where it is able to thrive.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      Esserteau's Rowan, Esserteau's Whitebeam.

    • Common names

      Sorbus esserteauana.

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      Sorbus esserteauana, more commonly known as serviceberry, generally is not considered toxic to humans. The fruit of serviceberry trees is edible and is often used in jams, jellies, and pies. However, like with any plant material, sensitivities can vary between individuals, and consumption of large amounts of the leaves or seeds could potentially cause stomach upset or other gastrointestinal distress due to the different compounds present in non-fruit parts of the plant.

    • To pets

      Serviceberry is not typically known to be toxic to pets. The fruit is often eaten by wildlife, and domestic pets usually do not experience adverse effects from consuming the fruit. Nevertheless, as pets can have individual sensitivities to plants, it's always a good practice to monitor pets and keep them from ingesting large quantities of any non-familiar plant material, which could potentially lead to gastrointestinal upset or other mild digestive issues.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      20 feet [6 meters]

    • Spread

      15 feet [4.5 meters]

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area



  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Landscape Aesthetics: Sorbus esserteauana, commonly known as Rowan or Mountain Ash, adds visual interest to landscapes with its attractive foliage, spring flowers, and autumn berries.
    • Wildlife Habitat: The berries produced by Rowan trees provide a food source for a variety of birds and small mammals, enhancing biodiversity.
    • Shade Provision: As a medium-sized tree, Rowan can offer shade for underplantings or small garden areas, creating cooler microclimates especially in urban settings.
    • Soil Stabilization: The root systems can help stabilize soil and prevent erosion on slopes or in areas prone to soil degradation.
    • Seasonal Interest: With flowers in spring, lush greenery in summer, vibrant berries in autumn, and a stark silhouette in winter, Rowan trees provide year-round visual appeal.
    • Pollinator Support: The blossoms are attractive to bees and other pollinating insects, thereby supporting local ecosystems.

  • 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

    • In woodworking, the fine-grained wood of the rowan tree can be used to create small turned objects such as bowls or decorative items due to its stability and decorative appearance.
    • The rowan tree can be utilized in landscape design and urban planning, as it is tolerant of pollution and can thrive in urban conditions, adding natural beauty to city spaces.
    • The berries of rowan can be used to make a natural dye, which gives a greenish to golden yellow hue, for textiles and crafts.
    • Rowan is planted for its ornamental value in gardens and parks, especially for its attractive autumn foliage and bright-red berries.
    • In European folklore, the rowan has been planted around homes and barns to ward off witches and evil spirits, thus it has a cultural value in certain traditions.
    • Bird enthusiasts may use rowan trees to attract wildlife, as its berries are a popular food source among many species of birds.
    • The wood of rowan trees can also be used in the creation of musical instruments like recorders or flutes because of its density and fine grain.
    • Rowan branches and leaves can be used for decorative purposes during festivals and holidays, such as May Day or Christmas, illustrating its role in seasonal customs.
    • The berries of rowan can also be fermented to create a wine or liqueur, offering a unique flavor profile that is enjoyed by some enthusiasts.
    • Crafters may use the pith of the rowan branches for making miniatures or model landscapes due to its ease of carving and smooth texture.

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: Sorbus esserteauana, commonly known as the Rowan or Mountain Ash, is a resilient tree often found in harsh, mountainous environments, symbolizing the ability to endure difficult conditions and overcome adversity.
    • Protection: The Rowan has a long-standing association with protection in folklore, believed to ward off evil and misfortune with its bright red berries, which were thought to be a deterrent against malevolent forces.
    • Insight: In some traditions, the Rowan tree is linked to wisdom and vision, its connection to higher elevations symbolizing a closer proximity to the spiritual realm and a clearer perspective.
    • Inspiration: As the Rowan blooms with clusters of white flowers, it represents inspiration and the spark of creativity, encouraging the pursuit of new ideas and artistic endeavors.
    • Connection to nature: The Rowan's presence in natural settings, often host to various forms of wildlife, signifies a deep connection to the natural world and the intricate web of life.

Every 2-3 weeks
2500 - 10000 Lux
Every 2-3 years
Spring-Early Summer
As needed
  • water dropWater

    The whitebeam (Sorbus esserteauana) prefers consistent moisture, so it should be watered thoroughly when the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch. This is typically once a week, but frequency can vary based on temperature and humidity. Each watering session should provide enough water to soak the root zone, amounting to about 1 to 1.5 gallons for a young tree, increasing as the tree matures. During hot, dry periods, water requirements may increase, and the plant may need water twice a week. It's essential to avoid overwatering, as this can lead to root rot.

  • sunLight

    The whitebeam thrives in full sun to partial shade conditions. An ideal spot would be a location where the plant receives at least six hours of direct sunlight daily, with some afternoon shade in hotter climates to protect it from intense heat. Avoid placing it in deep shade, as this can lead to reduced flowering and poor foliage development.

  • thermometerTemperature

    The whitebeam is hardy and can withstand a range of temperatures; it prefers a climate with temperatures ranging between 50°F and 85°F for optimal growth. It can survive temperatures down to about -20°F and up to around 100°F. However, extended exposure to temperatures outside this range may stress the plant.

  • scissorsPruning

    Pruning the whitebeam helps maintain its shape and encourage healthy growth. Prune during the dormant season, usually winter or early spring before new growth begins. Remove any dead, damaged, or crossing branches to improve air circulation and light penetration, which is essential for the overall health of the tree. Pruning should occur every 2 to 3 years or as needed to remove growth irregularities.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    The Rowan, commonly known as Sorbus esserteauana, thrives in well-draining, loamy soil with a pH of 5.5 to 6.5. A soil mix consisting of equal parts garden soil, compost, and peat or leaf mould, with additional perlite or coarse sand to improve drainage, is ideal. Ensure the soil is fertile and moist but not waterlogged to foster healthy growth.

  • plantRepotting

    Rowan trees, known as Sorbus esserteauana, do not require frequent repotting as they are typically grown as outdoor ornamentals. They should only be repotted or transplanted when they outgrow their current space or pot, which may be every few years in their younger stages or less often as they mature.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Rowan trees, which are Sorbus esserteauana, are tolerant of a wide range of humidity levels. They typically thrive in the humidity levels found in their natural outdoor environment, so specific humidity control is not necessary for the health of the plant.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Ensure bright, indirect light and avoid dry heat sources.

    • Outdoor

      Plant in well-draining soil, full sun to partial shade.

    • Hardiness zone

      5-9 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    The life cycle of Sorbus esserteauana, commonly known as the Rowan or Mountain Ash, begins with seed germination, occurring in moist, well-drained soil in spring after stratification. The germinated seeds develop into seedlings which grow rapidly, establishing a root system and foliage. After a few years, the sapling matures into a flowering tree, producing clusters of creamy white flowers in late spring to early summer. Pollinated flowers give way to red to orange berry-like pomes that ripen in the fall, providing food for wildlife and completing the reproductive cycle. Throughout its life, the rowan experiences seasonal cycles of growth, with leaves unfurling in spring, reaching full photosynthetic activity in summer, and then changing to vivid colors and falling in autumn. The tree can live up to 200 years, progressively growing in height and girth, and undergoing periodic rejuvenation through the natural shedding of branches and the growth of new ones.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Spring-Early Summer

    • The most popular method of propagating Sorbus esserteauana, commonly known as Rowan or Mountain Ash, is by seed. Seed propagation involves collecting seeds from ripe berries in the fall. Once gathered, the seeds should be cleaned and subjected to a cold stratification process, which entails mixing them with a moist substrate like sand or peat moss and storing them at a temperature of 34-40 degrees Fahrenheit (1-4 degrees Celsius) for approximately 90 to 120 days. This mimics the natural winter dormancy period and helps break the seed's dormancy. After stratification, seeds can be sown in a well-draining soil mix, lightly covered with soil, and kept in a bright location with consistent moisture. Germination typically occurs within a few weeks to several months, depending on conditions. Seedlings require care and protection from elements until they are strong enough to be transplanted outdoors.