Commercial Timbers


H. G. Richter and M. J. Dallwitz

Sorbus torminalis (L.) Crantz (Elsbeere, service berry)

Nomenclature etc. ROSACEAE. Syn.: Torminaria clusii M. Roem. Trade and local names: Elsbeere, Arlsbeere (DE); alisier, sorbier alisier (FR); checker tree, wild service tree (GB); baccarello, ciavardello (IT); aliso terminal, mostajo (ES); barkócafa (HU). Not protected under CITES regulations.

Description based on 6 specimens. Tree, or shrub. Geographic distribution: Europe, excl. Mediterranean, or Mediterranean incl. N. Africa and Middle East.

General. Growth ring boundaries distinct. Heartwood basically light pinkish brown. Sapwood colour similar to heartwood colour, or distinct from heartwood colour. Odour indistinct or absent. Density 0.65–0.75 g/cm³. Mit regelmäßigem Farbkern with regular heartwood.

Vessels. Vessels present. Wood diffuse-porous. Vessels arranged in no specific pattern, exclusively solitary or in multiples, commonly short (2–3 vessels) radial rows. Vessel outline rounded, or angular. Two distinct vessel diameter classes absent. Predominantly solitary, in some specimens also with larger proportions of vessel groups. Average tangential vessel diameter 40–60 µm; diameter of vessel lumina: small. Average number of vessels/mm² 100–150; vessels per square millimetre very numerous. Perforation plates simple. Perforations generaly simple; in very narrow vessels occasionally with scalariform to reticulate perforations (diagnostically not relevant). Intervessel pits opposite or alternate, average diameter (vertical) 5–7 µm, small, not vestured. Rare, loosely arranged, circular. Vessel-ray pits with distinct borders, similar to intervessel pits. Helical thickenings present, in narrow and wide vessel elements, throughout the body of vessel elements. Tyloses in vessels absent. Other deposits in heartwood vessels present, reddish brown, rare.

Tracheids and fibres. Vascular or vasicentric tracheids sporadic to absent. Fibres of medium wall thickness. Average fibre length 800–1200(–1700) µm. Average fibre length medium. Fibre pits common in both radial and tangential walls, distinctly bordered. Helical thickenings absent. Fibres non-septate. Faseranteil um 40% (Wagenführ 1985) fibre proportion around 40% (Wagenführ 1985).

Axial parenchyma. Axial parenchyma present, banded or not banded. Axial parenchyma bands marginal (or seemingly marginal), fine, up to three cells wide. Axial parenchyma apotracheal. Apotracheal axial parenchyma diffuse, or diffuse-in-aggregates. Axial parenchyma as strands. Average number of cells per axial parenchyma strand 3–5.

Rays. Rays 8–13 per tangential mm, multiseriate (also if only few), 1–3 cells wide, narrow (2–3 seriate). Rays with multiseriate portions as wide as uniseriate portions absent. Aggregate rays absent. Rays of one size. Height of large rays up to 500 µm. Rays composed of a single cell type (homocellular), or two or more cell types (heterocellular); homocellular ray cells procumbent. Heterocellular rays with square and upright cells restricted to marginal rows, mostly 1 marginal row of upright or square cells. Sheath cells absent. Tile cells absent. Perforated ray cells absent. Disjunctive ray parenchyma end walls indistinct or absent. Heterocellular rays relatively frequent.

Storied structures. Storied structure absent.

Secretory structures. Oil and mucilage cells absent. Intercellular canals absent. Laticifers or tanniniferous tubes absent.

Cambial variants. Included phloem absent. Other cambial variants absent.

Mineral inclusions. Crystals present (extremely rare) or not observed, prismatic, located in axial parenchyma cells. Crystal-containing axial parenchyma cells chambered. Number of crystals per cell or chamber one. Silica not observed.

Physical and chemical tests. Heartwood not fluorescent.

Illustrations. • Transverse section. Sorbus torminalis. • Tangential section. Sorbus torminalis. • Radial section. Sorbus torminalis.

The interactive key allows access to the character list, illustrations, full and partial descriptions, diagnostic descriptions, differences and similarities between taxa, lists of taxa exhibiting specified attributes, summaries of attributes within groups of taxa, and geographical distribution.

Cite this publication as: ‘Richter, H.G., and Dallwitz, M.J. 2000 onwards. Commercial timbers: descriptions, illustrations, identification, and information retrieval. In English, French, German, Portuguese, and Spanish. Version: 25th June 2009.’.