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Sorbus domestica

Service Tree

Pictures of Sorbus domestica

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Common name

Service Tree.


Scientific name

Sorbus domestica L.


Conservation status and threats

NOT protected by the law in Bulgaria.

According to European Atlas of Forest Tree Species:[1]

"Across Europe, the species is very rare and its genetic diversity is threatened mainly due to the reduction in number of individuals and disturbance of the natural populations by human activities."


Description and identification

Service tree (Sorbus domestica L.) is a deciduous tree, usually reaching around 20 m in height, although it can grow much larger in favourable sites. Leaves are imparipinnate with 13-21 leaflets. The bark is dark in colour with fine rectangular fissures. Small white flowers appear from late April to mid-May. The edible fruits are apple or pear-shaped, 2-3 cm in diameter. Fruit usually contains 2-5 (up to 10) seeds. Although the seeds are well dispersed by birds and mammals, the regeneration rate from seeds is low, and the tree also frequently regenerates by root suckers1. It is long-lived and often reaches 200 years of age, occasionally up to 400 or more.[2]


Habitat and Ecology

Service tree prefers warm and mild climates, although it is also resistant to cold down to -25 °C to -30 °C and can withstand late frosts6. It is able to grow on dry sites and cope with drought during the vegetation period6, requiring a minimum rainfall of 500 mm per year. It can be found up to 650 m on south-facing slopes in central Europe, but can grow at higher elevations further south. It is tolerant to a variety of soil conditions, but prefers moderately acid or neutral soils6. It can also be found in coppice and former coppice forests as a result of historic cultivation. It is a very light demanding species that can tolerate shade only in its first few years. This makes it a weak competitor, unable to dominate when crown closure occurs6. Under conditions of a warming climate it may become more favoured in some sites as a result of its drought tolerance, but its scarcity is likely to limit any range movement[3].


Distribution in Bulgaria

Throughout the country up to 1000 m altitude[4].


General distribution

Through central and southern Europe in particular in the Balkan peninsula, Italy and southern France, and rarely in parts of North Africa and western Asia[5].

Map of general distribution[6]:

Sorbus domestica


Importance and Usage

Service tree can be used for ornamental purposes, wood and fruit production. The fruits can be eaten when bletted (over-ripe), or are used to produce marmalades, jams, jellies, juices, fruit wine or other alcoholic drinks. It is also used in traditional medicine against intestinal problems, dysentery, diabetes and for memory improvement. The hard and heavy wood is of good quality and can command a high price; it is often used for making small objects such as screws, gear teeth, bearings and rifle butts[7].



References

[1] Enescu, C. M., de Rigo, D., Houston Durrant, T., Caudullo, G., 2016. Sorbus domestica in Europe: distribution, habitat, usage and threats. In: San-Miguel-Ayanz, J., de Rigo, D., Caudullo, G., Houston Durrant, T., Mauri, A. (Eds.), European Atlas of Forest Tree Species. Publ. Off. EU, Luxembourg, pp. e019db5+.

[2] Enescu, C. M., de Rigo, D., Houston Durrant, T., Caudullo, G., 2016. Sorbus domestica in Europe.....

[3] Enescu, C. M., de Rigo, D., Houston Durrant, T., Caudullo, G., 2016. Sorbus domestica in Europe.....

[4] Делипавлов, Д., И. Чешмеджиев, М. Попова, Д. Терзийски, И. Ковачев. 2003. Определител на растенията в България. Аграрен университет. Пловдив.

[5] Enescu, C. M., de Rigo, D., Houston Durrant, T., Caudullo, G., 2016. Sorbus domestica in Europe: distribution, habitat, usage and threats. In: San-Miguel-Ayanz, J., de Rigo, D., Caudullo, G., Houston Durrant, T., Mauri, A. (Eds.), European Atlas of Forest Tree Species. Publ. Off. EU, Luxembourg, pp. e019db5+

[6] Enescu, C. M., de Rigo, D., Houston Durrant, T., Caudullo, G., 2016. Sorbus domestica in Europe.....

[7] Enescu, C. M., de Rigo, D., Houston Durrant, T., Caudullo, G., 2016. Sorbus domestica in Europe.....


Sorbus domestica на български

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