Sorbus aucuparia


  • Rönn (S)
  • Rowan (GB)
  • Eberesche (D)
  • Le sorbier domestique (F)

Rowan was a sacred tree for ancient finnish people. They were afraid that cutting a rowan down would bring bad luck.


  • Rowan has spread all over Europe, and it is a common plant in Asia as well.
  • It is a common species throughout Finland. It grows all the way to the tree line in the north.
  • Sorbus hybrida and Sorbus intermedia grow in Finland, too. They can be found in the Southwestern part of the country.


  • Rowan thrives in rich soils that are either dry or moist, for example grassy woodlands, peaty forests with heavy moss and lichen cover, hardwood swamps, shores and cliffs.
  • It requires a lot of daylight.
  • On a favorable habitat a young rowan is fast-growing, but as it gets older the growth slows down.
  • Rowan has an extensive root system, which grows shoots easily. Thanks to its root system rowan withstands storms.

Growth characteristics

  • Rowan may grow as much as 20 meters high.
  • Rowans can have straight trunks and branchless stems if they are grown in a grove dense enough
  • Rowan saplings grow fast at the beginning, but the trees often remain small-sized.
  • Large rowans with a single trunk can be found in the best habitats, but they are rare.
  • Rowan grows limbs easily, and therefore it often grows as a bush formed by several thin trunks.
  • Due to its durability, foliage, flowers and berries, rowan has been a popular tree alongside park avenues.
  • Rowans hybridize easily, which is why there are a lot of different hybrids.
  • Rowan withstands delimbing, which makes it suitable wood for sawn timber.

Properties of the wood

  • Rowan wood is divided into light reddish or yellowish cambium and the grey- brown heartwood.
  • The annual rings are clearly distinguishable and the wood is beautifully patterned lengthwise. Flame patterned rowan wood is also wanted raw material.
  • Rowan wood has dense surface and it is somewhat scentless.
  • The wood is quite hard, tough and flexible. During the drying process it does not warp nor crack. The weight of air-dry sawn timber is 650 kg/m3.
  • Due to its charateristics it is excellently suitable for furniture wood.
  • It easy to work, lathe and surface finish.
  • A-class rowan is free of knots and even in colour. The amount of heartwood should be at least 70%, and it should not contain rot. This wood is used as raw material in the carpentry industry.
  • B- and C-class wood can have knots and variation in colour. C-class wood may also have rot and cracks.

Surface treatment

The wood samples have been surface treated as such:

  • Left, water-based acrylic lacquer
  • Center, no treatment
  • Right, two component catalystlacquer or oil

Radial cut

Tangential cut 


  • The appreciation of rowan for carpentry is rising.
  • It is used in the carpentry industry to make furniture, decorativ items and utility articles.
  • Traditionally rowan has been used in carvings, for example the rake teeth.
  • In the making of large sized furniture, it is on average not easy to acquire enough evenly coloured heartwood.