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Service Tree

Sorbus domestica (Familie Rosengewächse, Rosaceae)

Distribution: Southern Central Europe, Southern Europe and Asia Minor. It is questionable whether the Speierling is really indigenous in Germany. However, although very rare, it occurs growing wild in mixed deciduous forests in climatically mild areas.

Appearance: Tree up to 25 m tall; leaves pinnate with narrowly elliptic, pointed leaflets; flowers in May, in umbrella-shaped panicles, white or slightly reddish; spherical or pear-shaped, 2-3 cm apple fruits. At first glance, the Speierling resembles the related rowan, but it is clearly distinguished from the latter by its fruits.

The Speierling is a wild fruit species that used to be planted in meadow orchards in wine-growing areas. The fruits can be processed into jam or distilled into a precious brandy. Speierling juice is added to apple cider for clarification, to improve flavor and to improve shelf life. Because of its drought tolerance, Sorbus domestica should be well adapted to the warmer climatic conditions expected in the future.

Blätter und Blüten des Speierlings

Leaves and flowers of the service tree (photo: G. Aas)

Apfelfrüchte des Speierlings

Die kleinen Apfelfrüchte enthalten reichlich Gerbstoffe. Roh schmecken sie herbsauer und wirken adstringierend (Foto: G. Aas)

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