Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Irish whitebeam on Belleek porcelain

In 1984 the famous Belleek Pottery, an internationally renowned porcelain manufacturing company near Belleek village on the banks of the river Erne in County Fermanagh, N. Ireland, produced a limited edition Christmas plate featuring the Irish whitebeam (Sorbus hibernica) illustrated by artist Wendy Walsh.

The Irish whitebeam is an interesting member of the Aria (whitebeam) section of the genus Sorbus. It is distributed all over the island of Ireland where it is endemic indicating it must have been there for a long while, although its putative parents, Sorbus aria and Sorbus porrigentiformis, do not occur anywhere on the island as native species. So, the tree, an apomictic which now appears to reproduce true from seed, was either transported as a seed to Ireland, perhaps inside a bird, or has survived more successfully than its two parents which may once have grown in Ireland.

There is, incidentally, a traditional Irish recipe for apple and whitebeam berry pie. The berries in question would most likely have been from Sorbus hibernica. A good dish maybe to serve on one of these Belleek plates. See here:

In Co. Fermanagh the Irish whitebeam occurs in mixed ash woods.

Monday, 24 January 2011

Assorted information

These are just bits and pieces of information I gather from time to time. If anyone can provide further details on any of them, I would be grateful.

Hauptman's whitebeam tree is 15.5 metres tall and has a trunk circumference of 285 cm. It is among the tallest trees of its kind in Slovenia.

Bows from rowan and whitebeam wood. Interesting web site here:

Sunday, 9 January 2011

RIP Sorbus

Sorbus, a Finnish sweet fortified wine flavoured with juice from rowan berries (Sorbus aucuparia), was produced by Altia in Finland between 1935 and 1 January 2011 when it was withdrawn.