The Trees at Keele

Rowan or Mountain Ash  Sorbus aucuparia

Rowan flower and fruit

Origin: a native species growing throughout the British Isles and up to a higher altitude than any other tree. It is planted wideley in streets and gardens.

It has has long associations with witchcraft and used to be planted outside houses and churchyards to repel evil.

The leaves, with 5 to 10 pairs of opposite leaflets, turning bright yellow in the autumn.

Fruit: the red berries, that follow the profuse white flowers, are a great attraction to and important food source for birds, especially members of the thrush family in the autumn. They used to be made into a jelly to accompany game and, being rich in vitamin C, used to be made into a drink to prevent scurvy.

Uses: The wood is strong and supple and was used to make tool handles and, occasionally, as a replacement for Yew in the construction of longbows.

Location : They are scattered through the woodland. Separation form similar-looking ornamental rowans can be difficult but the row planted outside the chapel are probably this species.