Sorbus commixta

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Sorbus commixta
Sorbus commixta.jpg
Cultivated specimen
Morton Arboretum, acc. 28-94-3
Scientific classification
S. commixta
Binomial name
Sorbus commixta

Sorbus commixta, the Japanese rowan (七竈, nanakamado, ナナカマド), is a species of flowering plant in the family Rosaceae, native to Japan, Sakhalin (in the Russian Far East), and the Korean island of Ulleungdo.[2][3][4]


The specific epithet commixta means "mixed or mingled together".[5]

Its Japanese name, nana-kamado, literally means "seven (times in the) stove" and alludes to its sturdiness as firewood, as it does not get entirely consumed by the fire of a stove even after repeated use.[6]


It is a small to medium-sized deciduous tree growing to 7–10 m (23–33 ft) tall, rarely 18 m (59 ft), with a rounded crown and brownish to silvery-grey bark. The leaves are 20–30 cm (8–12 in) long, and pinnate. The leaves consist of 11–17 leaflets, each 4–7 cm (2–3 in) long and 1–2.5 cm broad, with an acuminate apex and serrated margins; they change to a deep purple or red in autumn. The flowers are 6–10 mm in diameter, with five white petals and 20 yellowish-white stamens; they are produced in corymbs 9–15 cm (4–6 in) in diameter in late spring to early summer. The fruit is a bright orange to red pome 7–8 mm in diameter, maturing in autumn.[3][4][7]

Plants from Hokkaidō, the Kuril Islands and Sakhalin are sometimes distinguished as Sorbus commixta var. sachalinensis, with larger leaflets up to 9 cm long.[4]

Cultivation and uses[edit]

Outside its native range, it is grown as an ornamental tree, hardy in zones 5-9. It grows best in moist, well-drained soil, in full sun. A number of cultivars have been selected, the most popular being 'Embley' (with fastigiate branching) and 'Serotina' (flowering later in early summer).[4] 'Embley' has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.[8][9]


  1. ^ McAllister, H.A. 2005. The genus Sorbus: Mountain Ash and other Rowans . Kew Publishing.
  2. ^ "Sorbus commixta". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Agricultural Research Service (ARS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Retrieved 2 January 2018.
  3. ^ a b Okayama University of Science: Sorbus commixta (in Japanese; google translation)
  4. ^ a b c d Rushforth, K. (1999). Trees of Britain and Europe. Collins ISBN 0-00-220013-9.
  5. ^ Harrison, Lorraine (2012). RHS Latin for gardeners. United Kingdom: Mitchell Beazley. p. 224. ISBN 9781845337315.
  6. ^ Kodansha Encyclopedia of Japan. Kodansha. 1983. p. 327. ISBN 978-0-87011-625-4. The wood is hard and the tree's name derives from the saying that even after putting it into a stove (kamado) seven (nana) times, it remains unbumed.
  7. ^ Kanagawa Plants: Sorbus commixta (in Japanese; google translation)
  8. ^ "RHS Plant Selector - Sorbus commixta 'Embley'". Retrieved 5 March 2021.
  9. ^ "AGM Plants - Ornamental" (PDF). Royal Horticultural Society. July 2017. p. 98. Retrieved 13 November 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)