Timberpedia - Wild Service Tree

Wild Service Tree

Latin Name:Irish Name:Native to Ireland?
Sorbus torminalis Yes

About the Tree 

Also known as the Chequer(s) or Checker(s) Tree, is a medium sized, deciduous tree native to Europe, North Africa, and Asia. It grows to a height of 25m.

It is relatively rare and is usually confined to pockets of ancient woodland, although it can also be found growing in hedgerows. It can often be found associated with oak and ash woods, preferring clay and lime based soils.

The leaf is rather maple-like but, unlike maples, they can have 3 to 5 pairs of lobes, or five to
seven lobes. Leaves are dark green on both sides, coarsely toothed.

The undersides have small hairs when young, but both sides are smooth and shiny when older. The
bark is smooth and greyish, but flaky, peeling away in squarish plates to reveal darker brown
layers. This gives rise to its alternative name of the Chequer Tree. In September and November,
the tree produces light brown round berries, which are also called chequers. The berries are edible
and taste similar to dates, The berries are traditionally known as a herbal remedy for colic; the
tree’s Latin name, ‘torminalis’ means ‘good for colic’. Before the introduction of hops, the berries
were used to flavour beer

About the Wood

Rare, but used for turnery and cabinet work.

Sorbus torminalis Full tree Mature tree in spring
Elsbeere Holz Wood
ElsbeerFrucht Foliage and fruit
About the TimberPedia

Know your wood! The Timberpedia is a broad resource that aims to catalogue all the major tree species in Ireland, containing information that we’ve gathered from over two decades maintaining our natural woodland and serving Ireland’s woodworking industry.

All written material is copyright © 2021 by the Lisnavagh Timber Project.