Service Tree (Sorbus domestica)

General info about Fruit

Woodland Garden; Canopy;
The Service Tree (Sorbus domestica) is sometimes known as the True Service Tree to distinguish it from the Wild Service Tree. It is native to western and southern Europe (north to south Wales), northwest Africa, and southwest Asia. It is generally rare, being listed as an endangered species in Switzerland and Austria, and uncommon in Spain. Its name is unrelated to the English word service, and derived instead from its Latin name sorbus.
In the UK, one very old tree that existed in the Wyre Forest before being destroyed in 1862 used to be considered native, but there is no definite evidence for this tree being wild. More recently, a small population of genuinely wild specimens was found growing as stunted shrubs on cliffs in south Wales and nearby southwest England (Hampton & Kay, 1995). It is not otherwise widely cultivated in the UK.

How to choose a ripe and fresh Fruit

The fruit is a component of a cider-like drink which is still made in parts of Europe. Picked straight off the tree it tastes highly astringent.However,when left to blet (over-ripen) it sweetens and becomes pleasant to eat.

Ways to prepare and serve the Fruit

Edible Parts: Fruit.
Fruit - raw or cooked. The fruit is usually bletted if it is going to be eaten raw. This involves storing the fruit in a cool dry place until it is almost but not quite going rotten. At this stage the fruit has a delicious taste, somewhat like a luscious tropical fruit. The fruit will often begin its bletting process whilst still on the tree and we have eaten delicious fruits straight from the tree in mid-September. The fruit can also be dried and used like prunes. The fruit is up to 3cm across.

Health Benefits and Warnings of eating Fruit

Medicinal Uses
None known

Other Uses
Tannin; Wood.
The bark is a source of tannin. Wood - fine grained, very heavy, hard to split. Used for furniture, screws, wine presses etc.


Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Rosales
Family: Rosaceae
Subfamily: Maloideae
Genus: Sorbus
Subgenus: Cormus
Species: S. domestica
Binomial name
Sorbus domestica