Above: on the left
with a forked trunk
is a rowan.

Rowan berries

Trees of London
The Tower of London


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              The Rowan is a pretty little tree which comes into its own in the autumn when it produces red berries which are quite bright and contrast wonderfully with its green leaves. It is popular in outer London, but relatively rare in central London.

              The example here, at Tower Hill, is quite good in that it has a forked trunk which is quite common with the Rowan but by no means always the case.

                The Rowan is sometimes known as the mountain ash. This is probably owing to there being a similarity in its leaves to the Ash, which are pinnately compound (see the section on tree identification). Actually the Rowan is not related to the ash; it belongs to the Sorbus family which also includes the whitebeam. It does not grow nearly as high as the ash, which is why it is a popular garden tree, and it produces berries not samaras, which are the fruit of the Ash (see identification section).

          The rowan tree was considered to have magical characteristics by the Druids in the days before the Romans. All the magical characteristics in question being good ones, so there is nothing to be worried about.

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Other Trees at Tower Hill

black poplar      Norway maple     acacia

sycamore     London plane      bird cherry

ginkgo     honey locust

Tower of London

Tree Identification

sorbus aucuparia:

Rowan leaf

pinnately compound; alternate for leaves, opposite for leaflets. Leaflets are toothed on rim, oval shaped but pointed.

Rowan berries

nuts/fruit: bright red berries which grow in clusters.

Rowan flowers

Flowers: bloom in spring in large white clusters.

Rowan bark bark:
smooth, grey
grows to about 20 metres
rectangular, often with more than one trunk.
general: not that common in central London but very common in the suburbs and residential quarters.

click below for more information about rowan trees.

Across the road from the Tower and walking
east from Trinity Square Gardens;
the other side of the Roman wall,
it is the furthest tree along.
In the picture above it is the one
on the left, with the trunk which forks out.

Trees of London        A James Wilkinson Publication ©