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Wild service tree

Sorbus torminalis (Familie Rosengewächse, Rosaceae)

Distribution: Central and southern Europe to western Asia. In Upper Franconia, the heat-loving service tree occurs naturally only very rarely in oak-rich deciduous forests of the Jura, in the Steigerwald and in the Hassberge.

Appearance: Tree up to 30 m tall. Typical are the pointed lobed leaves, which remind a little of a maple, but are alternate (in the maple opposite!). Flowers white, in umbrella-shaped inflorescences; fruits 1-2 cm large, brown when ripe.

Wild service tree provides an interesting wild fruit. The apple fruits are rich in vitamin C, but develop their tart-sour-sweet flavor only when overripe after the first frosts. They are hardly suitable for fresh consumption due to their high tannin content, but are good for making compote, jam or liqueur. Because of their astringent effect, they used to be used against cholera, dysentery and other diarrheal diseases. That is why the wild service tree was called dysentery pear. Its wood, which is used for furniture and woodturning, is valuable and highly sought after. Since the service tree is tolerant to heat and drought, it should be planted more frequently in the future in forests, but also in residential green areas.

Die weißen Blüten Elsbeere

The white flowers appear in May or early June (Photo: G. Aas)

Früchte der Elsbeere

Früchte (Foto: G. Aas)

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