Devon Local Nature Partnership Devon whitebeam (Sorbus devoniensis) and allied species. Nationally Scarce, most of the allied species are Nationally Rare. Devon Whitebeam is endemic to the British Isles, being found nowhere else in the world. The tree is largely restricted to Devon (especially north Devon) and to a small area of south-east Ireland. In Devon most trees occur in hedges, although some grow open woodland. The species is representative of a suite of other rare or scarce whitebeams restricted wholly or mainly to Devon, including English Whitebeam Sorbus anglica, Grey-leaved Whitebeam Sorbus porrigentiformis, Rock Whitebeam Sorbus rupicola, Bloody Whitebeam Sorbus vexans, Slender Whitebeam Sorbus subcuneata, Watersmeet Whitebeam Sorbus admonitor and Margeret’s Whitebeam Sorbus margaretae. The county population of Devon Whitebeam appears stable, with new sites being found every year. Natural regeneration was noted under two trees on Roborough Common in 2018. Populations of allied species are probably stable too, although some of these are very small. 


Devonshire Association The Botany Section was founded in 1908 to promote the study and enjoyment of Devon’s wild plants, including bryophytes (mosses), lichens and fungi.

Finally, our special Devon tree, the Devon Whitebeam (Sorbus devoniensis), occurs quite frequently within the hedgerows and woodland edges of the Taw valley and can be seen at the Devon Wildlife Trust Reserve at Uppacott. 

A New Flora of Devon (pg. 274)


Devon Biodiversity Record Centre Submit your sightings of Devon Whitebeams and other species in Devon 



East Devon AONB The Devon Whitebeam is endemic to Britain and grows wild in only four places – Devon, Cornwall, Somerset, and Ireland.

A true special species, it can reproduce without fertilisation, creating seeds that are genetic copies of itself. This has resulted in pockets of clone trees that are found nowhere else in the world.

Presumed a hybrid between the wild service and common whitebeam trees, its leaves are oval with serrated edges and fine white hairs on the underside (hence ‘white’ beam). Clusters of white flowers appear in May, nourishing bees, butterflies, and other pollinating insects before ripening to brown-orange berries in autumn. 


File:Sorbus devoniensis fruit.jpg - Wikimedia Commons


National Biodiveristy Network The NBN Atlas is a collaborative project that aggregates biodiversity data from multiple sources and makes it available and usable online. It is the UK’s largest collection of freely available biodiversity data.

Sorbus devoniensis 


Wikipedia Karpatiosorbus devoniensis is known by the English name of Devon whitebeam and formally as Broad-leaved Whitebeam. When the fruit was reported as sold at Barnstaple Pannier Market the name French Eagles was used, apart from 1929 when they were reported as eagle-berries. When the trees were reported as seen growing wild on botanical walks they were referred to as French Hails (once each as French hail and French Hales). Broad-leaved white-beam, which was the common name until Devon Whitebeam took over, was used once in 1907. The term Otmast was used once as a pet name, as its true identity was not known. It is a species of whitebeam, trees and shrubs in the family Rosaceae. It is endemic to the British Isles, growing wild in areas of Devon, Cornwall, Somerset and south-east Ireland as a native and north-east Ireland as an introduction.

It probably did not exist before the last ice age, arising from a hybrid between Sorbus torminalis the wild service tree and another whitebeam. It is a close relative of the No Parking whitebeam, Karpatiosorbus admonitor, and two other British natives and around 40 species in Europe. 

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