The rowan (Sorbus aucuparia) occurs throughout Scotland especially at higher altitudes, often on cliffs or steep gullies to try to escape the grazing of sheep or deer. The red foliage colours with the clusters of ripe red berries make them stand out in the early autumn and the berries provide important food for many species of birds. In Celtic mythology a rowan tree was often grown by the front gate or door to ward off witches. Pieces of rowan were also reputed to be kept in houses to guard against lightning. Species of Sorbus are native throughout the cool temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere. Several of the Asian species are popular as garden or park plants in this country. This photograph shows the autumn foliage colours and berries of Sorbus pseudohupehensis, which originates from Hubei in China. Waxwings from Scandinavia are very fond indeed of these Chinese berries, even more so than the rowan berries on a neighbouring tree.
David Rook 27 November 2012