Factsheet F19: Sorbus domestica
Sorbus domestica is a native tree of much of Central and Southern Europe, North Africa and Asia Minor; also in Britain according to recent evidence of genuinely wild plants found near Cardiff. It has been cultivated for ages for its fruits, which are often pressed for juice; the ancient Romans are credited with introducing it to the wine-growing regions of Europe. The service tree can live to a great age, often to 300 years, sometimes to 500 or 600 years. It is a relatively rare species, found on the edge of forests, banks etc., and in fact is so rare in some parts of Europe that it is considered endangered there. It often occurs as scattered, isolated trees, typically on calcareous soils.