Plant Focus: Rowan

Image by Rosie Hopkins

The Rowan is a native tree great for pollinators in the Spring with its flowers and in the Autumn red berries are a feast for birds.

Common names: rowan, mountain ash, witch wiggin tree, keirn, cuirn

Scientific name: Sorbus aucuparia

Mature trees can grow to 15m in height and can live for up to 200 years. The bark is smooth and silvery grey, and leaf buds are purple and hairy. Woodland Trust


Oh rowan tree, oh rowan tree,

Thou’lt aye be dear to me,

Entwined thou art wi mony ties,

O’ hame and infancy.

Thy leaves were aye the first o’ spring,

Thy flow’rs the simmer’s pride;

There was nae sic a bonny tree

In a’ the countrieside

Oh rowan tree!


How fair wert thou in simmer time,

Wi’ a’ thy clusters white

How rich and gay thy autumn dress,

Wi’ berries red and bright.

On thy fair stem were many names,

Which now nae mair I see,

But they’re engraven on my heart.

Forgot they ne’er can be!

Oh rowan tree!


We sat aneath thy spreading shade,

The bairnies round thee ran,

They pu’d thy bonny berries red,

And necklaces they strang.

My mother! Oh, I see her still,

She smil’d oor sports to see,

Wi’ little Jeanie on her lap,

And Jamie at her knee!

Oh rowan tree!


Oh, there arose my father’s pray’r

In holy evening’s calm,

How sweet was then my mither’s voice,

In the martyr’s psalm;

Now a’ are gane! we meet nae mair

Aneath the rowan tree;

But hallowed thoughts around thee twine

O’ hame and infancy.

Oh rowan tree!

Lady Nairne

Image by Rosie Hopkins

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