Sorbus decora

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Sorbus decora
At the Akureyri Botanical Gardens
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Rosales
Family: Rosaceae
Genus: Sorbus
S. decora
Binomial name
Sorbus decora
(Sarg.) C.K.Schneid.
Natural range includes southern tip of Greenland (not shown)
  • Pyrus americana var. decora Sarg.
  • Pyrus decora (Sarg.) Hyland
  • Sorbus americana var. decora (Sarg.) Sarg.
  • Aucuparia subvestita (Greene) Nieuwl.
  • Pyrus decora var. groenlandica (C.K.Schneid.) Fernald
  • Pyrus dumosa (Greene) Fernald
  • Pyrus groenlandica (C.K.Schneid.) K.R.Robertson
  • Pyrus sambucifolia S.Watson & J.M.Coult.
  • Pyrus sitchensis B.L.Rob. & Fernald in
  • Pyrus subvestita (Greene) Farw.
  • Sorbus americana Pursh
  • Sorbus americana var. groenlandica C.K.Schneid.
  • Sorbus americana var. sitchensis (M.Roem.) Sudw.
  • Sorbus decora var. groenlandica (C.K.Schneid.) G.N.Jones
  • Sorbus dumosa House
  • Sorbus groenlandica (C.K.Schneid.) Á.Löve & D.Löve
  • Sorbus sambucifolia Dippel
  • Sorbus scopulina Hough
  • Sorbus subvestita Greene

Sorbus decora, commonly known as the northern mountain ash,[1] showy mountain-ash,[2] Greenland mountain-ash, and dogberry, is a species of deciduous shrub or very small tree native to northeastern North America.


Sorbus decora grows 4–10 metres (13–33 ft) tall. Its leaves are odd-pinnately compound, with 11–17 leaflets. Each leaflet is 5–10 cm (2–4 in) long and 1–2.5 cm (38–1 in) wide. All parts are hairless to slightly hairy. Flowers are borne in 125- to more than 400-flowered panicles 6–25 cm (2+149+34 in) across. Each flower is 5–7.5 mm (1414 in) across and has five white petals 2.5–3.5 mm (33218 in) long, 14–20 stamens, and carpels with 3–4 styles. The fruits (pomes) are bright red to orange-red and 4–7 mm (532932 in) across.[3]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

Sorbus decora occurs throughout the Laurentian Mixed Forest Province, the New England-Acadian forest region, the eastern Canadian boreal forests and Greenland. It cannot be found north of 62°15′N, which confines it the southern tip of Greenland, generally deeper up the western fjords, such as the Qinngua Valley.[4][5]

Similar species[edit]

Sorbus decora is very similar to the closely related American mountain-ash (Sorbus americana). Like the American mountain-ash, the showy mountain-ash has odd-pinnately compound leaves and often large clusters of flowers and fruits. Showy mountain-ash can be distinguished by its shiny, sticky buds,[6] and its slightly larger flowers and fruit.[2] It is said to bloom a week earlier.[3]


It is often cultivated as an ornamental plant for its cold-hardiness, its attractive flowers, and its large clusters of small red berry-like pomes.

The fruits are an important source of food for wildlife, particularly birds in the winter and early spring.


  1. ^ USDA, NRCS (n.d.). "Sorbus decora". The PLANTS Database ( Greensboro, North Carolina: National Plant Data Team. Retrieved 23 November 2015.
  2. ^ a b Chayka, Katy (2016). "Sorbus decora (Showy Mountain-ash)".
  3. ^ a b Zika, Peter F.; Bailleul, Stéphane M. (2014). "Sorbus decora". In Flora of North America Editorial Committee (ed.). Flora of North America North of Mexico (FNA). Vol. 9. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press – via, Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
  4. ^ The Greenland Mountain Birch Zone, Southwest Greenland. p. 4. ISBN 9788763512046.
  5. ^ Böcher, Tyge W. (2010). "Birch woodlands and tree growth in southern Greenland". Ecography. 2 (4): 218–221. doi:10.1111/j.1600-0587.1979.tb01292.x.
  6. ^ Farrar, J.L. (1995). Trees in Canada. Markham, Ontario: Fitzhenry and Whitside/Canadian Forest Service.

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