World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Whitebeam

Article Id: WHEBN0000444605
Reproduction Date:

Title: Whitebeam  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: List of trees of Great Britain and Ireland, Sorbus latifolia, Highbury Wood, Flora of Scotland, Shipova
Collection: Sorbus
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Publication
Date:
 

Whitebeam

Whitebeam
Common Whitebeam flowers
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Rosales
Family: Rosaceae
Genus: Sorbus
Subgenus: Sorbus subg. Aria
Pers.

The whitebeams are members of the Rosaceae family, comprising subgenus Aria of genus Sorbus, and hybrids involving species of this subgenus and members of subgenera Sorbus, Torminaria and Chamaemespilus. They are deciduous trees with simple or lobed leaves, arranged alternately. They are related to the rowans (Sorbus subgenus Sorbus), and many of the endemic restricted-range apomictic microspecies of whitebeam in Europe are thought to derive from hybrids between S. aria and the European rowan S. aucuparia; some are also thought to be hybrids with the wild service tree S. torminalis, notably the service tree of Fontainebleau Sorbus latifolia in French woodlands.

The best known species is the common whitebeam Sorbus aria, a columnar tree which grows to 25 m (82 ft) tall by 10 m (33 ft) broad, with clusters of white flowers in spring followed by speckled red berries in autumn (fall).[1]

Contents

  • Appearance 1
  • Ecology 2
  • Uses 3
  • Classification 4
  • Selected species 5
  • References 6

Appearance

The surface of the leaf is an unremarkable mid-green, but the underside is almost white (hence the name) transforming the appearance of the tree in strong winds, as noted by the poet Meredith: "flashing as in gusts the sudden-lighted whitebeam".[2] It is also described as the "wind-beat whitebeam" in Gerard Manley Hopkins' poem "The Starlight Night".[3]

Ecology

The berries are a favourite of birds, though less palatable (drier, less juicy) than rowan berries. Whitebeams are sometimes used as larval food plants by Lepidoptera species including Short-cloaked Moth.

Uses

A cross-section of a whitebeam branch

This tree is grown in parks and large gardens. The cultivars S. aria 'Lutescens'[4] and S. aria 'Majestica'[5] have gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.

The tough, hard wood is a deep orange when wet, and pale yellow after drying. It suited for woodturning, and was used for furniture, tool handles, and cogs before the use of iron.

Classification

  • section Aria - Sorbus aria and its close relatives
  • section Alnifoliae - a group of Asian species
  • section Thibeticae - a group of species from the Himalayas and southern China
  • Sorbus intermedia group (nothosubgenus Soraria) - taxa of hybrid origin involving sections Aria and Sorbus
  • Sorbus latifolia group (nothosubgenus Tormaria) - taxa of hybrid origin involving sections Aria and Torminaria

Selected species

Sorbus subgenus Aria

Plus many other species

References

  1. ^ RHS A-Z encyclopedia of garden plants. United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. 2008. p. 1136.  
  2. ^ PoemsMeredith, G. (1851). Love in the valley. Line 207.
  3. ^ Hopkins, Gerard Manley (1918). The starlight night. Line 6.
  4. ^ "' 'LutescensSorbus aria"RHS Plant Selector - . Retrieved 4 June 2013. 
  5. ^ "' 'MajesticaSorbus aria"RHS Plant Selector - . Retrieved 4 June 2013. 
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.
 


Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.