Wild Service tree

Sorbus torminalis

  1. Wildlife
  2. Trees and shrubs
  3. Wild Service tree


Once widespread, if seldom abundant, the Wild Service tree in the forests of England and Wales. But as these were cleared, it became rarer and is now confined to ancient woodlands and hedges, such as those of royal hunting forests, particularly on heavy clay soils. Inconspicuous for much of the year, their white blossom in spring and crimson leaves in autumn give them away.

How to identify

Wild Service trees can be recognised by their jagged, palmate leaves (a little like Maple leaves), white flowers and small, apple-like fruit.

Where to find it

Widespread in England, but not abundant.


When to find it

  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December

How can people help

The Wildlife Trusts manage many woodland nature reserves sympathetically for all kinds of species. A mix of coppicing, scrub-cutting, ride maintenance and non-intervention all help woodland wildlife to thrive. You can help too: volunteer for your local Wildlife Trust and you could be involved in everything from traditional forest crafts to raising awareness about woodland animals.

Species information

Common name
Wild Service tree
Latin name
Sorbus torminalis
Trees and shrubs
Height: 10-25m
Conservation status