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Sorbus domestica - L.                
                 
Common Name Service Tree
Family Rosaceae
Synonyms Cornus domestica. Pyrus sorbus.
Known Hazards The seeds probably contain hydrogen cyanide. This is the ingredient that gives almonds their characteristic flavour. Unless the seed is very bitter it should be perfectly safe in reasonable quantities. In small quantities, hydrogen cyanide has been shown to stimulate respiration and improve digestion, it is also claimed to be of benefit in the treatment of cancer. In excess, however, it can cause respiratory failure and even death.
Habitats Woods and bushy places[45].
Range Europe.
Edibility Rating  
Medicinal Rating  
Care
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun

Summary       

Physical Characteristics       
 icon of manicon of lolypop
Sorbus domestica is a deciduous Tree growing to 15 m (49ft 3in) at a medium rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 6 and is not frost tender. It is in flower in May, and the seeds ripen from Sep to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.It is noted for attracting wildlife.


USDA hardiness zone : 6-10


Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil. The plant can tolerates strong winds but not maritime exposure.

Sorbus domestica Service Tree


Sorbus domestica Service Tree
   
Habitats       
Woodland Garden Canopy;
Edible Uses                                         
Edible Parts: Fruit.
Edible Uses:

Fruit - raw or cooked. The fruit is usually bletted if it is going to be eaten raw[1, 2, 3, 11, 115, 183]. This involves storing the fruit in a cool dry place until it is almost but not quite going rotten. At this stage the fruit has a delicious taste, somewhat like a luscious tropical fruit[K]. The fruit will often begin its bletting process whilst still on the tree and we have eaten delicious fruits straight from the tree in mid-September[K]. The fruit can also be dried and used like prunes. The fruit is up to 3cm across[200].
Medicinal Uses
Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.



None known
Other Uses
Tannin;  Wood.

The bark is a source of tannin[61]. Wood - fine grained, very heavy, hard to split. Used for furniture, screws, wine presses etc[11, 46, 61, 74, 115].
Cultivation details                                         
Succeeds in most reasonably good soils in an open sunny position[11]. Tolerates light shade[188], though it fruits better in a sunny position[K]. The service tree is occasionally cultivated for its edible fruit[3, 45, 132]. There are 2 distinct forms, S. domestica pomifera. (Hayne.)Rehd. with apple shaped fruits (which ripen from September) and S. domestica pyriformis. (Hayne.)Rehd. with pear shaped fruits which ripen from October[11, 132]. Plants are susceptible to fireblight[188] and to canker (which is especially prevalent in areas with high rainfall)[K]. They grow best in the drier areas of Britain, which in general means the eastern half of the country[121].
                                                                                 
Propagation                                         
Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame[78, 80]. If you have sufficient seed it can be sown in an outdoor seedbed[78, 80]. Stored seed germinates better if given 2 weeks warm then 14 - 16 weeks cold stratification[98], so sow it as early in the year as possible. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle. Seedlings are very slow to put on top-growth for their first year or two[11], but they are busy building up a good root system. It is best to keep them in pots in a cold frame for their first winter and then plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring.
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Expert comment                                         
 
      
Author                                         
L.
                                                                                 
Botanical References                                         
1145200
                                                                                 
Links / References                                         

  [K] Ken Fern Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.

[1]F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956
Comprehensive listing of species and how to grow them. Somewhat outdated, it has been replaces in 1992 by a new dictionary (see [200]).
[2]Hedrick. U. P. Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World.
Lots of entries, quite a lot of information in most entries and references.
[3]Simmons. A. E. Growing Unusual Fruit.
A very readable book with information on about 100 species that can be grown in Britain (some in greenhouses) and details on how to grow and use them.
[11]Bean. W. Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement.
A classic with a wealth of information on the plants, but poor on pictures.
[45]Polunin. O. Flowers of Greece and the Balkans.
A good pocket flora, it also lists quite a few plant uses.
[46]Uphof. J. C. Th. Dictionary of Economic Plants.
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
[61]Usher. G. A Dictionary of Plants Used by Man.
Forget the sexist title, this is one of the best books on the subject. Lists a very extensive range of useful plants from around the world with very brief details of the uses. Not for the casual reader.
[74]Komarov. V. L. Flora of the USSR.
An immense (25 or more large volumes) and not yet completed translation of the Russian flora. Full of information on plant uses and habitats but heavy going for casual readers.
[78]Sheat. W. G. Propagation of Trees, Shrubs and Conifers.
A bit dated but a good book on propagation techniques with specific details for a wide range of plants.
[80]McMillan-Browse. P. Hardy Woody Plants from Seed.
Does not deal with many species but it is very comprehensive on those that it does cover. Not for casual reading.
[98]Gordon. A. G. and Rowe. D. C. f. Seed Manual for Ornamental Trees and Shrubs.
Very comprehensive guide to growing trees and shrubs from seed. Not for the casual reader.
[115]Johnson. C. P. The Useful Plants of Great Britain.
Written about a hundred years ago, but still a very good guide to the useful plants of Britain.
[121]? The Plantsman. Vol. 3. 1981 - 1982.
Excerpts from the periodical giving cultivation details and other notes on some of the useful plants..
[132]Bianchini. F., Corbetta. F. and Pistoia. M. Fruits of the Earth.
Lovely pictures, a very readable book.
[183]Facciola. S. Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants.
Excellent. Contains a very wide range of conventional and unconventional food plants (including tropical) and where they can be obtained (mainly N. American nurseries but also research institutes and a lot of other nurseries from around the world.
[188]Brickell. C. The RHS Gardener's Encyclopedia of Plants and Flowers
Excellent range of photographs, some cultivation details but very little information on plant uses.
[200]Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.

Readers comment                                         
 
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Subject : Sorbus domestica  
             

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