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Fossil range: {{{fossil_range}}}
Common Whitebeam flowers
Common Whitebeam flowers
Plant Info
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Sunset Zones: {{{sunset_zones}}}
Scientific classification
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Kingdom: Plantae
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Superdivision: {{{superdivisio}}}
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Division: Magnoliophyta
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Class: Magnoliopsida
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Infraclass: {{{infraclassis}}}
Superorder: {{{superordo}}}
Order: Rosales
Suborder: {{{subordo}}}
Infraorder: {{{infraordo}}}
Superfamily: {{{superfamilia}}}
Family: Rosaceae
Subfamily: Maloideae
Supertribe: {{{supertribus}}}
Tribe: {{{tribus}}}
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Genus: Sorbus
Subgenus: Aria
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Binomial name
Trinomial name
Type Species
Sorbus subgenus Aria

Sorbus alnifolia - Korean Whitebeam
Sorbus aria - Common Whitebeam
Sorbus arranensis - Arran Whitebeam
Sorbus bristoliensis - Bristol Gorge Whitebeam
Sorbus devoniensis - Devon Whitebeam
Sorbus folgneri - Folgner's Whitebeam
Sorbus intermedia - Swedish Whitebeam
Sorbus latifolia - Service Tree of Fontainebleau
Sorbus mougeotii - Vosges Whitebeam
Sorbus rupicola - Rock Whitebeam
Sorbus thibetica - Tibetan Whitebeam
Sorbus vestita - Himalayan Whitebeam
Plus many other species
Sorbus subgenus Sorbus
Sorbus Other subgenera</td></tr>


The whitebeams are members of the Rosaceae family, in genus Sorbus subgenus Aria. 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 Common Whitebeam Sorbus aria, but several other species from Europe and Asia in particular are widely cultivated as ornamental trees.

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.

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

It is worthy of note that in the months of May and June, the tree gives off a strong distinctive smell of semen.[citation needed]

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