Plant Focus: Sorbus ‘Joseph Rock’

Plants, Plan Your Garden

Sorbus ‘Joseph Rock’ – a yellow berried form of Rowan / Mountain Ash  – is one of my favourite small trees (I planted one in my own garden a few years ago – and also one in my parents’ garden in the distant past).  It is worthy of a place in any garden, providing  interest and colour all through the year.


  • Upright, neat habit
  • Light canopied (with mid green pinnate leaves)
  • Creamy white flowers in late Spring
  • Lovely yellow berries in autumn, which start pale yellow and mature to amber. They can last throughout the winter, but are much loved by the birds – the blackbirds in my garden devour them in next to no time.
  • Superb autumn leaf colour – in varying shades of red, orange, copper and purple

Why I like it:

  • Provides interest & colour throughout the year
  • Doesn’t grow too big! – growing to only 6m high by 4m wide in 20 years
  • It’s light canopied, so won’t cast a lot of shade
  • The creamy white flowers are much loved by bees
  • Low maintenance

Where to use it

  • Ideal in a small garden where space is limited
  • Suitable for most soils

Planting & plant care tips:

Sorbus ‘Joseph Rock’ can be planted in almost any soil.  It is also pollution tolerant, so good for town gardens and built up areas.

Some authorities state that Sorbus Joseph Rock is susceptible to Fireblight, although I have never had any experience of this problem.

There are also a number of other yellow berried Sorbus eg Sorbus ‘Sunshine’, which has Joseph Rock as one of its parents, and which are also well worth considering.

Image credits: Wendy Cutler

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