Sorbus koehneana

Sorbus koehneana: A Delicate Beauty from Central China

Sorbus koehneana, also known as Sorbus fruticose ‘Koehneana’, Sorbus pogonopetala, or Koehne Mountain Ash, is a deciduous shrub or small tree. It belongs to the Rosaceae family, which includes a wide array of flowering plants.

Origin and Discovery

Native to Central China, Sorbus koehneana draws its origins from the rich landscapes of this region. It was first discovered by the British plant collector Ernest Henry “Chinese” Wilson (1876-1930). The plant was subsequently published in 1906 by Camillo Karl Schneider (1876-1951), a German botanist and landscape architect. Schneider, known for his extensive plant collections, traveled to China in 1913 and left in 1915, contributing significantly to botanical knowledge through his publications.

Characteristics and Description

Sorbus koehneana features bright green, fern-like, pinnate foliage. The leaves create an elegant canopy and turn a striking shade of red in the autumn, enhancing the plant’s visual appeal. It is a deciduous species, shedding its leaves during the winter months.

In late spring, typically in May or June, Sorbus koehneana produces panicles of delicate, five-petaled white flowers. These blossoms emerge from old shoots and add a touch of grace to the plant. Following the flowers, the plant develops creamy-white waxy berries on red stalks, further accentuating its beauty.

Cultivation of Sorbus koehneana:

When cultivating Sorbus koehneana, certain factors should be considered for its successful growth and maintenance.

Sunlight: Sorbus koehneana thrives in full sun or partial shade. It benefits from receiving adequate sunlight to promote healthy growth and vibrant flowering.

Watering: Regular watering is essential, particularly during the first year after planting. Once established, the plant can tolerate dry periods, but it’s advisable to provide supplemental watering during prolonged droughts.

Soil: This species prefers humus-rich, fertile, and well-drained soil. While it can tolerate a range of soil conditions, slightly acidic soil is ideal for its optimal growth and development.

Pests and Diseases: Sorbus koehneana is generally resilient to pests and diseases. However, it may occasionally face challenges such as scale insects, aphids, fireblight, or powdery mildew. Regular monitoring and appropriate pest control measures, such as organic insecticides or horticultural oils, can help manage these issues effectively.

Propagation: Sorbus koehneana can be propagated through various methods. It can be grown from seeds, air layering, or grafting. Softwood cuttings taken in the summer can also be used to propagate new plants.


Sorbus koehneana offers versatility in landscape design and provides various uses:

  • Specimen Plant: Its delicate and graceful appearance makes it an excellent choice as a focal point in gardens or landscapes.
  • Border Plant: Sorbus koehneana‘s lush foliage and beautiful berries add interest and charm to garden borders.
  • Hedge: With its multi-stemmed growth habit and appealing foliage, it can be pruned into an attractive hedge.
  • Wildlife Gardens: The berries of Sorbus koehneana are highly appreciated by birds and other animals, making them a valuable addition to wildlife-friendly gardens.

Other Information

Sorbus koehneana exhibits relatively fast growth, reaching heights of 10-15 feet and widths of 6-8 feet at maturity. It has a lifespan of approximately 50-75 years, providing enduring beauty for many seasons to come.

Sorbus koehneana stands as a delicate beauty hailing from the landscapes of Central China. Its graceful fern-like leaves, charming white flowers, and waxy berries contribute to its allure. With proper cultivation and care, this versatile plant can enhance various garden settings and captivate admirers with its natural elegance.

Sorbus koehneana
Sorbus koehneana at Kew Garden, London, UK
Sorbus koehneana
Beautifule flowers of Sorbus koehneana
Sorbus koehneana
Koehne Mountain Ash of Sorbus koehneana

How useful was this?

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating 5 / 5. Vote count: 2

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!

Let us improve this post!

Tell us how we can improve this post?

Share This Page: