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Rowan (or mountain ash)

A grey smooth barked tree which has two distinct forms in the landscape; either a single trunk or in a multiple stemmed form branching out from close to the ground. Its leaves are pinate, meaning there are multiple leaves on one stem. It produces white flowers in spring, which are insect pollinated. These produce red berries, which are attractive to birds including fieldfares, waxwings and mistle thrushes.

In summer the white flowers are sweet smelling.  A spectacular landscape species in autumn with leaves often turning through yellow and orange to a bright crimson. After the fall of the leaves, any red berries that have survived the ravages of migrating birds are then a contrast to the grey twigs and branches.

Also known as the mountain ash, this tree can be found growing at a greater height than any other species in Scotland and is often found in its single trunk form on steep slopes in mountain glens up to 1000m.

Look out for small rowan seedlings underneath other tree species. These seedlings illustrate the success of seed dispersal by birds that have fed on the berries of this tree. The seeds have passed through the bird’s digestive system and been discarded in their droppings. Each seed has started with a little patch of natural fertiliser.