Wild Service Tree

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 Sorbus torminalis subsp. var.  Wild Service Tree, Chequer tree
A mature Wild Service tree in spring
Habit: tree
Height: to
Width: to
30ft50ft 25ft
Height: 30 ft to 50 ft
Width: warning.png"" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki. to 25 ft
Lifespan: perennial
Bloom: early spring, mid spring, late spring
Exposure: sun
Features: deciduous, flowers, edible, fruit
Hidden fields, interally pass variables to right place
Minimum Temp: °Fwarning.png"°F" is not a number.
USDA Zones: 6 to 10
Sunset Zones:
Flower features:
Rosaceae > Sorbus torminalis var. , (L.) Crantz

Sorbus torminalis (syn. Torminalis clusii, Wild Service Tree), sometimes known as the Chequer(s) Tree or Checker(s) Tree, is a species of Sorbus native to Europe from England and Wales east to Denmark and Poland, south to northwest Africa, and southeast to southwest Asia from Asia Minor to the Caucasus and Alborz mountains.[1][2]

Trunk and leaf canopy

It is a medium-sized deciduous tree growing to 15–25 m tall, with a trunk up to 1.3 m diameter. The bark is smooth and greyish, but flaky, peeling away in squarish plates to reveal darker brown layers. The leaves are 6–14 cm long and broad with a 2.5–5 cm petiole, dark green on both sides, with five to nine acute lobes; the basal pair of lobes are spreading, the rest more forward-pointing and decreasing in size to the leaf apex, and with finely toothed margins. The undersides have small hairs when young, but both sides are smooth and shiny when older; the autumn colour is yellow to red-brown. The flowers are 10–15 mm diameter, with five white petals and 20 creamy-white stamens; they are produced in corymbs 5–12 cm diameter in late spring to early summer, and are hermaphrodite and insect pollinated. The fruit is a globose to ovoid pome 10–15 mm diameter, greenish to russet or brown, patterned with small pale lenticel spots when mature in mid to late autumn.[1][3][4][5]

The fruit, sometimes called "chequers", are edible and taste similar to dates, although they are now rarely collected for food. They are usually too astringent to eat until they are over-ripe and bletted.

Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture

Sorbus torminalis, Crantz (Pyrus torminalis, Ehrh. Torminaria torminalis, Dipp. T. Clusii, Roem.). Wild Service Tree. Round-headed tree, with spreading branches, 40-80 ft. high: lvs. broadly ovate, slightly cordate to broadly cuneate at the base, with several triangular-ovate, serrate lobes on each side, the lower sinuses reaching about half-way to the middle, floccose-tomentose when young, finally glabrous, rarely with persistent tomentum, 2-4 in. long; petioles 1-1 3/4 in. long: fls. white, 1/2 in. across, in broad, rather loose tomentose corymbs: fr. oval, 1/2 – 3/4 in. high, brown, dotted. May, June. S. and Cent. Eu.—The foliage turns bright red in autumn. CH

The above text is from the Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture. It may be out of date, but still contains valuable and interesting information which can be incorporated into the remainder of the article. Click on "Collapse" in the header to hide this text.



Pests and diseases


There are two varieties:[1]

  • Sorbus torminalis var. torminalis. Europe, northwest Africa.
  • Sorbus torminalis var. caucasica. Caucasus and Alborz Mountains. Leaves less deeply lobed than in var. torminalis.



  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Rushforth, K. (1999). Trees of Britain and Europe. Collins ISBN 0-00-220013-9.
  2. Euro+Med Plantbase Project: Sorbus torminalis
  3. Mitchell, A. F. (1974). A Field Guide to the Trees of Britain and Northern Europe. Collins ISBN 0-00-212035-6
  4. Blamey, M. & Grey-Wilson, C. (1989). Flora of Britain and Northern Europe. ISBN 0-340-40170-2
  5. Cambridge University: plantsci.cam.ac.uk Sorbus torminalis

External links

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