Wild service tree (Sorbus torminalis) - leaves and fruit - September 2017
A Wild service tree in the Hill Barton industrial estate of Exeter, UK. === Overview: mature trees can grow to 25m. The bark is brown and patterned with cracked square plates, and the twigs are slender, shiny, grey-brown and straight. Leaves: leaf buds are rounded and green, like little peas, and form on short leaf stalks. The lobed leaves are similar to maple, and turn a rich, coppery red before falling in autumn. Flowers: the wild service tree is hermaphrodite, meaning both male and female reproductive parts are contained within each flower. They form in clusters in late spring to early summer, and are pollinated by insects Fruits: once pollinated, the flowers develop into green-brown oval fruits (sometimes called chequers), 10–15 mm diameter and patterned with small pale spots when mature in mid to late autumn. It can also propagate itself by suckers. Look out for: the leaves have 3-4 unequal lobes. The fruits, also known as chequers, are said to taste like dates and were given to children as sweets. They can be made into an alcoholic drink and it is thought they influenced the naming of 'chequers inns', although it is unclear which came first - the name of the fruit or the inns. Ultimate height Higher than 12 metres Ultimate spread wider than 8 metres Time to ultimate height 20-50 years
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