[NAFEX] sorbus fruit

hector black hblack at twlakes.net
Fri Nov 8 23:45:10 EST 2002

Hello Mark,
    There's a sorbus domestica at the Seattle arboretum that I try to visit
whenever I go there.  The fruits are pear shaped and of fairly good size.  I
gathered some when I was there about Oct 8th.  Tasted quite a bit like pear
but the hadn't completely bletted so there was still some astringency.
    The tree is away from the larger part of the collection, it's very close
to the gift shop, behind the nursery sales area.
If you haven't checked it out, you would enjoy it.  Very large tree.  They
suffer from fungus and borers here.  But I keep trying.
    Hector  zone 6 middle TN

----- Original Message -----
From: Mark Lee <markl at nytec.com>
To: <nafex at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Friday, November 08, 2002 8:38 AM
Subject: [NAFEX] sorbus fruit

> I went exploring at the arboretum in town this week.  I have been waiting
> for the first freeze so I could go sample some fruit that I have been
> reading about.  The common mountain ash, a Sorbus species, is considered
> some to be a weed in Seattle.  The fruit is so sour and astringent that I
> classify it as a "spitter", one taste and you can't keep it in your mouth.
> The Washington Arboretum has one of the largest collection of Sorbus, and
> this provided me with a chance compare fruit quality of a number of
> Here is a description of two that stood out.  A word of caution...   Like
> apples, the seeds of Sorbus probably contain hydrogen cyanide, so the
> precautions should be taken (ie don't make meals out of nothing but
> Sorbus devoniensis (Fontainbleu Service Tree, French Hales, Sorb Apple)
> colors of fruit were hanging on this tree, orange and brown with white
> speckles.  The orange ones were mealy and tasteless.  The brown ones were
> fully ripe and "bletted".  These had the flavor, sweetness and texture of
> dates.  In England these are collected and fermented into an alchoholic
> drink.
> Sorbus pallescens  (no common name) Native to China.  The tree was young
> fruit was sparse.  But of the few I sampled, the flavor was good.  It was
> sweet and tart with the flavor and texture of apricots.
> Both of these trees will have a future in my edible landscape.
> -Mark Lee, Seattle z7
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