Service Tree Sorbus torminalis

The Service Tree (often referred to as the Wild Service  to differentiate it from other Service trees)  is native to Europe, including Britain, the Caucasus, Syria and Algeria. It is found in ancient woodlands and hedgerows with the highest numbers in the south and east of England. The leaf is similar to the Norway Maple but the veins are different. The tree bears white flowers in spring and the fruit is ripe (brown) by August. The fruit is sometimes called Chequers and was used to flavour or make beer. The bark is scaly. Click on any photo to enlarge it.

A large Wild Service tree growing in Maulden Wood, Bedfordshire.

The leaf looks like that of a Maple but the veins do not all radiate from a single point like a Maple.

The leaves are alternate, unlike the Maples where the leaves are opposite.

The bark of an old tree is scaly.

Flowers emerge in May.

The flowers are clustered together in what is called a ‘corymb’ – the same as other members of the Sorbus family such as the Common Whitebeam and the Common Rowan.

Individual flowers have 5 white petals and yellow anthers.

A fruit cluster at the end of July. Individual fruits are technically not berries, they are ‘pomes’.