Swedish whitbeam makes for a very good street tree and is widely planted across Northern Europe. There are a reasonable number of these pretty trees dotted across Exeter, typically along road sides. They are similar to Common whitebeam which is native to the UK, however the leaf margins are quite different. There are many cultivars and hybrids which can make things quite difficult when trying to accurately identify this tree.
Swedish whitebeam is a medium-sized deciduous tree growing to 10–20 m tall in urban conditions. The trunk of the tree can reach up to 3m in diameter although this is quite rare and typically does not exceed 1m. Like most members of the Sorbus family the bark is grey and fairly smooth and quite often covered with lichen such as Caloplaca alociza.
The top side of the leaves are dark green and have four to seven lobes on each side
The bark is grey and fairly smooth and often covered in light coloured lichen
The leaves are dark green above, and densely hairy with pale grey-white hairs on the underside. The leaves are usually 7–12 cm long and 5–7 cm wide with four to seven oval lobes on each side of the leaf. During the autumn time the leaf colour is dull yellowish to grey-brown. The flowers are insect pollinated and are 15–20 mm in diameter with five white petals and 20 yellowish-white stamens. They are tightly grouped together in what are called 'corymbs' and are around 10cm in diameter. The best time to see them in flower is May.
During May the tree is covered in clusters of creamy-white flowers. This type of arrangement is know as 'corymbs'
The canopy is quite open and allows a good amount of light onto the ground below
The fruit is an oval pome which is pea sized. As the fruit matures it turns from green to a bright orange / red. The best time to see these lovely colours are August and September. Birds such as thrushes and waxwings will happily gobble up the fruit and disperse the seeds later on. As this is a non-native species fewer insect species are linked to it but as it is so similar to the native Common whitebeam it's a safe bet that it will still provide an important food source for insects.
The buds are egg shaped and a mixture of red and green as well as being slightly hairy
During early summer the young fruit is green and covered in white hair
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