Sorbus commixta

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Sorbus commixta
Sorbus commixta.jpg
Cultivated specimen
Morton Arboretum, acc. 28-94-3
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Rosales
Family: Rosaceae
Genus: Sorbus
Subgenus: Sorbus
Section: Commixtae[1]
Species: 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 consisit 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]


  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 4 June 2013.