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Sorbus aria
  • RHS Plants for pollinators

common whitebeam

A broadly columnar deciduous tree, rather upright when young, with broadly ovate dark green leaves, white-felted beneath, and clusters of white flowers in spring, followed by red berries in early autumn

Other common names
beam tree
chess apple
see morewhite beam tree
whitebeam
Synonyms
Pyrus aria
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Size
Ultimate height
8–12 metres
Time to ultimate height
20–50 years
Ultimate spread
4–8 metres
Growing conditions
Chalk
Clay
Loam
Sand
Moisture
Moist but well–drained, Well–drained
pH
Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Colour & scent
StemFlowerFoliageFruit
Spring White Green
Summer Green
Autumn Green Gold Red
Winter
Position
  • Full sun
  • Partial shade
Aspect

South–facing or North–facing or West–facing or East–facing

Exposure
Exposed or Sheltered
Hardiness
H6
Botanical details
Family
Rosaceae
Native to the UK
Yes
Foliage
Deciduous
Habit
Bushy
Potentially harmful
Fruit are ornamental - not to be eaten. Wear gloves and other protective equipment when handling
Genus

Sorbus can be deciduous trees or shrubs with simple or pinnate leaves and clusters of small white or pink flowers, followed by white, yellow, pink, red or brown berries; some have fine autumn colour

Name status

Correct

Plant range
Europe

How to grow

Cultivation

Grow in moderately fertile, humus-rich soil. Tolerant of atmospheric pollution and dry conditions

Propagation

Propagate by softwood cuttings in early summer, chip budding in summer or grafting in winter. Propagate by seed (sown outdoors) in autumn

Suggested planting locations and garden types
  • Cottage and informal garden
  • Coastal
  • Wildlife gardens
Pruning

Pruning group 1

Pests

May be susceptible to aphids, scale insects, pear blister mite, red spider mite and sawfly larvae

Diseases

May be susceptible to fireblight, apple canker, silver leaf and honey fungus

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