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Rowan (Sorbus aucuparia) Native

Deciduous shrubs and small trees frequently coppiced and used for hedges.
Many superstitions associated with hazel from Celtic times.
Height max 6m. Maximum age 60-70 years, longer if coppiced.
Uses of wood - Used in past for cask hoops, basketry, walking sticks, hurdles,
thatching, spars and divining rods.
Good firewood.


Folklore of the Rowan

The rowan or mountain ash is often found in inaccessible places such as on cliffs and by
mountain streams and is well known for fast growth. The rowan grows at a higher altitude
than any other tree in Scotland and is also used as an ornamental tree in urban areas.
For centuries, it has been revered as a very magical tree, with high powers of protection.
This comes from the base of the red fruit, which is the shape of a pentagram, a five point star,
which is the symbol of protection. In the west of Scotland, it is said to be very bad luck to cut
down a rowan, though you can hold the tree tight and make a wish.

The berries are rich in vitamin C, are delicious to a variety of birds including thrushes, siskin
and chaffinch, who in turn distribute the seeds through their droppings. The berries are also
used to make wine and a strong spirit. Rowanberry ale was traditionally drunk at festivals and ceremonies.

The berries also have medicinal properties, with the juice used as a gargle to relieve sore throats
and hoarseness. They also make wonderful jams and sauces - rowanberry jelly is traditionally
eaten with game dishes. The wood of the rowan has been used for tool handles and carving.

In much the same way that hazel is used in divining for water, rowan is used in metal divining.
Its old gaelic name was Luis from the place name Ardlui on Loch Lomond may originate.
A young rowan, if found growing on another species of tree, was considered extremely magical
and was called 'flying rowan'.