Tree 6 - 12 m tall Leaves: alternate, pinnately compound, stalked, 12.5 - 20 cm long, with nine to fifteen (rarely to nineteen) leaflets. Inflorescence: flat-topped, hairy-stalked, 7.6 - 12.7 cm across. Flowers: white, 8 - 10 mm across, malodorous, with triangular sepals and five petals. Fruit: berry-like (pome), about 1 cm across, orangish red, with flattened seeds. Bark: light grayish brown, usually smooth, becoming slightly rough on old trunks. Twigs: grayish brown, hairy at first, becoming hairless and shiny later in the season. Buds: reddish brown, 0.7 - 1.3 cm long, hairy. Leaflets: dull dark green above, paler beneath, 1.9 - 6.3 cm long, oblong to oblong-lance-shaped with a pointed to blunt or rounded tip, toothed except on the lower third, the lower surface hairy when young.
Similar species: The similar Sorbus decora has sticky buds and more or less hairless twigs, leaves and inflorescence stalks.
Flowering: May to July
Habitat and ecology: Introduced from Eurasia, this species occasionally grows in disturbed, often shaded sites ranging from bogs and swamps to grazed upland woods or fencerows.
Occurence in the Chicago region: non-native
Notes: This species is often planted for its showy flowers and fruit. However, it is attacked by many pests and diseases and does not tolerate extreme summer heat, drought or alkaline soils.
Etymology: Sorbus is the classical name for a plant in the genus. Aucuparia means bird-catcher, referring to the popularity of the fruit with birds.
Tree to 10 m, the younger parts ±white- villous, not glutinous; lfls oblong, 3-5 cm, acute to obtuse, sharply or bluntly serrate; pet orbicular, 4-5 mm, about equaling the stamens; fr ca 1 cm thick; 2n=34. Native of Europe, often escaped from cult. and even appearing as native in our range. (Pyrus a.)
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.