© Copyright: Images: Jouko Lehmuskallio.
All rights reserved.

Swedish Whitebeam

Sorbus intermedia

  • Latin synonym: Borkhausenia intermedia
  • Family: Rose Family – Rosaceae
  • Growing form and height: Tree. 3–10 m (10–33 ft.).
  • Flower: Regular (actinomorphic), rather small, strong-smelling. Calyx-lobes five, broadly triangular, sharp-pointed, hairy. Petals five, white, with rounded tip. Carpels two, partly fused. Stamens 20. Inflorescence a dense compound cyme, flower-stalks hairy.
  • Leaves: Alternate. Stalked, elliptic, ca. 10 cm (4 in.) long, shallowly pinnately lobed. Basal lobes deepest. Lobes sharp-toothed, upper surface hairy at first, later hairless, underside densely hairy and almost white.
  • Buds: Egg-shaped, reddish-brown. Scale edges hairy.
  • Fruit: Red to reddish-brown, oval berry.
  • Habitat: Dry rocky meadow banks, rocky broadleaf woods. Also an ornamental.
  • Flowering time: June.
  • Endangerment: Vulnerable, protected in the Åland Islands.

There are at least 90 species of Sorbus, in Europe alone more than 50. The Swedish whitebeam is a typical insect-pollinated species. Its strong-smelling flowers lure plenty of pollinators, such as flies, butterflies, beetles, and bees. When the berries are ripe, they attract birds which eat them, and disperse the seeds.

In Finland, Swedish whitebeam is native only in the Åland Islands and elsewhere in the archipelago. Inland it is grown as an ornamental. It is rarely encountered as an escape dispersed by birds.

Swedish whitebeam can be distinguished from Finnish whitebeam (S. hybrida) by its shallowly lobed leaves. At the base of the leaf there may be two or four deep lobes, or none at all. Berries of Swedish whitebeam are also clearly elongated, those of the Finnish whitebeam almost globose.

Other species from the same genus
Other species from the same family
Flowers from the same family

Follow us!


Identify species!

Sivun alkuun / Top of the page