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Very Rare Tree - Sorb Tree of Wyre

Discussion in 'Flora & Fauna' started by Joonsy, Jun 24, 2013.

  1. Joonsy

    Joonsy Native

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    For the tree lovers here, there is a very rare tree with an interesting history tucked away in the middle of the Wyre Forest which is known as the Sorb Tree or Whitty Pear Tree. Apparently every tree of that particular species growing today in the whole of the UK is descended from one single old tree (though I believe it is more common outside the UK). Originally there was an old tree growing on the same spot as the one today which was thought to be the last remaining tree of it’s kind, it was burned down through a grudge but fortunately prior to it’s demise a local took some cuttings from that old tree which survived. Therefore it is said that every tree of that species growing today is descended from the cuttings taken from that one last surviving old tree, how true this is I don’t know but if so it makes it a very rare tree indeed. Here is a link telling the account of that trees history http://www.wbrc.org.uk/WORCRECD/Issue 15/sorb_tree.htm and here is a photo of present tree (taken last winter so not shown in leaf unfortunately)

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  2. British Red

    British Red M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)

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    Fascinating - now that would be a fun tree to grow!
     
  3. falling rain

    falling rain Native

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    'Wild Service Tree' maybe..............I think the latin name has sorbas, sobus or something like that in it. Maybe in the 'acer 'family.............and yes i'ts very rare. I's a very specific tree that has to have the right soil and absolutely the right conditions. The wood was used for crossbow stocks. I've found 3 at Shotover Country Park in Oxfordshire.
    Was decimated for it's hard tight grain but the tree has to have specific conditions to grow. Anyway I'm not sure if that's what you're talking about..............Bears a fruit which is a bit sherberty!!
     
  4. Harvestman

    Harvestman Bushcrafter through and through

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    Certainly some sort of Sorbus. They are a difficult group.

    Ah, apparently it is a Sorbus domestica, or True Service Tree. Very rare indeed. Not the same as Wild Service Tree, Sorbus torminalis.
     
  5. Joonsy

    Joonsy Native

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    it is the ''True Service Tree'', latin name is Sorbus Domestica, often called Whitty Pear. some cuttings taken from the original tree at Wyre Forest have been planted at various locations with limited success and this includes specimens at Botanical Gardens in Oxford (don't know about Shotover Park), it is very difficuilt to get seeds to germinate and cuttings have been a little more sucessful. The tree is very rare indeed and has an interesting history.
     
  6. British Red

    British Red M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)

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    Damned good one for the book. You are though responsible for me adding another one to my wish list! I have two wild service trees and other sorbus members at the homestead, but not a true service tree. I do like the idea of making wine from the fruit. That would be an exclusive tipple!
     
  7. Joonsy

    Joonsy Native

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    it would cetainly make a very nice addition to any homestead, the Romans made a drink from it's fruit called ''Cevevisia'' from which the name ''Service'' derived, a brew made from the fruit was also once added to Mead to enhance flavour, i imagine it's a fruit that is hardly ever used nowadays because of it's rarity so would indeed make a very exclusive tipple, it would certainly be a conversation piece and unusual addition to any wine rack, the timber is very good as well being particularly fine-grained and hard and was used for screws for wine presses and gears and cart wheel hubs and rims etc. I will be checking the tree again to see how it fruits this year and may post some photos of developments.

    PS -- The tree's status is critically endangered and on the Threatened Plants database of the Botanocal Society i believe so am delighted to take responsibility for adding it to anyone's wish list.
     
    #7 Joonsy, Jun 25, 2013
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2013
  8. British Red

    British Red M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)

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    Developments would be great - I'd love to see pictures of bark, leaves, fruit and flowers. Happy to reciprocate as my baby wild service trees grow (they are only about 3' at the moment but leafing nicely!). I really ought to photograph some of our less usual trees to document their progress - we have a few interesting ones such as whitebeam, alder buckthorn, holm oak etc. Mostly just saplings as I clear the older weed ash and elder - we want to keep a mature canopy but gradually grow in more unusual specimens and remove the weed trees. Got a rather nice little black mulberry to plant out as soon as I make space for it!
     
  9. British Red

    British Red M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)

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    Hey Joonsy - there is more information on this link

    http://www.wondersofbritain.org/

    (click the link for "Appled Ash" under Nennius wonders of Britain)

    I have found a grower too - European but according to the limited research out there, is little or no genetic difference.

    As a brewer and beekeeper, you can guess where this is going I'm sure!

    Thank you for the fascinating pictures and links.....I'll let you know how they get on!
     
  10. falling rain

    falling rain Native

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    Ah right - True service tree then. The one's i've seen at Shotover are wild service trees and also quite rare. Very slow growing.
     
  11. Joonsy

    Joonsy Native

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    Thankyou very much British Red for supplying that link, very interesting and by clicking on the ''Science/ Myth/Visit Details'' links i have gained some more info, cheers. I wish you every success with propagation and no doubt you will eventually be rewarded with a most unusual fireside tipple, it sounds like you have some lovely tree specimens already growing (Holm Oak etc as mentioned in your earleir post) and are on your way to a very fine collection of trees indeed. Glad my post has brought something positive to the forum, best of luck with the planting/beekeeping and as you are a brewer hope you are on your way to a whole new addition to your recipes.
     
  12. Lou

    Lou Full Member

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    Hi British Red, would it be possible to make a hedge out of the sorbus domesticus? I looked online and the tree grows pretty tall, but I would like to have an unusual tree for a medium height hedge and I believe it will tolerate up to -20 c which is great for our climate. if it was kept cut back to form a thick hedge would it still blossom and produce fruit?
     
  13. British Red

    British Red M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)

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    I would hate to be definitive about it TH, but I think it would certainly be worthy of inclusion in a mixed hedge - wild service trees (sorbus torminalis) are certainly used as a hedge plant
     
  14. Lou

    Lou Full Member

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    Oh, that is great, I have found a supplier in France who sells plugs of 40 cms, I may buy a few and mix them up with other species. I would love to have hawthorn too but not sure it tolerates our up to -20c winters. Thanks for the advice anyway :)
     
  15. British Red

    British Red M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)

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    Hawthorn should be fine Tawny - its been down to -15C and below here - no damage at all (and that was young hedge plants only in the ground for a couple of months so they were not deeply rooted)

    Oh - and Joonsy - now see what you have gone and made me do :D

    [​IMG]
    True Service Tree by British Red, on Flickr
     
  16. Macaroon

    Macaroon A bemused & bewildered

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    What a great thread! I hope you'll post the progress on this one in the future, BR.................atb mac
     
  17. British Red

    British Red M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)

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    Happy to Mac

    I must do a thread to show our tiny arboretum some time....here is one of the young Wild Service Trees as it fits in with the "sorbus" theme

    [​IMG]
    Wild Service Tree by British Red, on Flickr

    I know I'll never get to see them - but I'd rather plant some for future generations than be a whinger who complains about tree loss and does nothing about it!
     
  18. Joonsy

    Joonsy Native

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    Hello BR, thanks for the update, that's fantastic, crikey you didn't hang about with the sourcing and supply :) the leaves are quite different to the wild service tree aren't they, hope it roots and survives well for you. Nice to see someone ''actually'' taking action for future generations, it was indeed that attitude that ensured future generations of people could see the trees growing today related to that old single wyre forest tree, therefore the person who took those cuttings from that old wyre forest tree saving it's demise is in effect responsible for me posting this thread which in turn lead to you obtaining your own specimen, that is how that attitude has a very positive effect for many many years way beyond the instant gratification sought by some.
     
    #18 Joonsy, Jul 4, 2013
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2013
  19. British Red

    British Red M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)

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    Indeed - I certainly only sourced these having read you post and the associated links! I bought two in the end (sourced from France - well rooted young trees, in great condition). Two because I didn't know if they are self fertile but also so we can claim credit for one each :)
     
  20. Tengu

    Tengu Full Member

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    I think they are fastinating too, I have a book on the Wyre forest
     

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