Sorbus torminalis (Wild Service Tree)
Other Names: Chequers, Chequers Tree
Description: This mediums sized deciduous tree is a real stunner in springtime with its clusters of pretty white flowers but its now a rare species and hard to find. It is scattered throughout the country but often isolated to ancient woodland, semi-ancient woodland and old hedges where it still holds out. The brown bark is patterned with cracked square plates and the twigs are slender, shiny and grey- brown in colour. The leaves are a similar shape to a Maple (Canadian Flag) and turn a deep, rich red before falling in autumn.
Uses: While the wood has a fine grain and a silvery sheen it has never been used much commercially. The fruits were often found in markets in the not too distant past and were used for flavouring alcoholic drinks such as Whisky.
Conservation Value: Its flowers are a good source of pollen for insects and the fruits are eaten by birds.
Preferred Locations: This species grows best on clay, rocky areas and lime based soils. It can tolerate occasional waterlogging but is a light demanding tree and can be out competed by other broadleaf species.
Size: Usually reaches a heights or between 15 and 25 metres.
Time to reach full height: 50 years
Lifespan: 100 to 200 years