Sorbus discolor

Snowberry Mountain Ash

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  • Sorbus discolor

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Min. hardiness zone:
Item ID:

Growing Info

Scarification: Soak in water, let stand in water for 24 hours
Stratification: cold stratify for 90 days
Germination: can be sown outdoors in the fall for spring germination, sow seed 1/4" deep, keep moist, mulch the seed bed, remove mulch upon germination

Introducing the Sorbus discolor Snowberry Mountain Ash! This little-known 20-30' tree is a true beauty, with feathery leaves composed of 11-15 tapering, pointed leaflets. These leaves are carried on vibrant red shoots, adding a striking touch to its overall appearance.

In the early spring, you'll be greeted with the tree's 4-6" clusters of delicate white flowers. These flowers are followed by the emergence of creamy-yellow fruits, which are subtly tinted with a lovely pink hue. These fruits are truly a sight to behold and contribute to the tree's overall prettiness.

Heightening its attractiveness are its remarkable features. The Sorbus discolor Snowberry Mountain Ash boasts an open crown with sturdy ascending branches. It does not form a central trunk, giving its crown a broad ovoid shape.

The twigs of this tree are bare and glossy reddish-brown, creating an eye-catching contrast against its dark green leaves. These imparipinnate leaves consist of 11-17 leaflets, which are lanceolate to elongated in shape. Moreover, the stipules of the tree stay on for an extended period, further enhancing its visual appeal. The leaf edge is serrated except at the foot, where it remains smooth.

While Sorbus discolor prefers a moderate amount of moisture in the soil, it is known to withstand poor and dry soil conditions. It also displays good resistance to wind, making it suitable for various planting locations including parks.

Native to Northern China, this tree has proven its resilience in winter. It thrives in winter hardiness zone 5 and showcases stunning red foliage in the autumn. The flowers of Sorbus discolor bloom in loose-stemmed umbels, which house multiple white flowers with a slightly hairy texture. As summer draws to a close, its fruits start to appear. These fruits are almost white to creamy yellow, occasionally adorned with a gentle pink blush. Their pale colors create a delightful contrast against the changing autumn hues of the leaves, resulting in a truly picturesque scene.

Also known as S. pekinensis discolor or S. pekinensis, this tree has earned its reputation as a highly recommended species. With its stunning combination of vibrant flowers, attractive fruits, and remarkable foliage, the Sorbus discolor Snowberry Mountain Ash is a true gem that will bring elegance and visual interest to any landscape.

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