service tree

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Sorbus domestica
Sorbus torminalis


Properly, the tree that bears sorb fruit, from Middle English serves, plural of serve (sorb apple, serviceberry), from Old English syrfe, from Vulgar Latin *sorbea, from Latin sorbus (service tree). See sorb.


service tree (plural service trees)

  1. (botany) Either of two rare Old World deciduous trees, Sorbus domestica or Sorbus torminalis.
    • 2000, F. W. M. Vera, Grazing Ecology and Forest History, page 341,
      Wild cherry and rowan, as well as wild apple, wild pear, wild service tree, whitebeam, and true service tree, are all affected by being nibbled by voles, mice and other wild animals.
    • 2002, Mélusine Draco, Paul Harriss, Root & Branch: British Magical Tree Lore, page 102,
      In England, the wild service tree (sorbus torminalis) is regarded as an indicator of ancient woodland although there is little written about it in books on the subject.
    • 2010, Barbara Snow, David Snow, Birds and Berries, page 54,
      The wild service tree is very local in our study area. [] At the time when these wild service trees had ripe fruit the much more abundant hawthorns, as well as a number of other plants, were providing alternative sources of fruit, which were probably safer to exploit than the service tree’s fruit 3—15 m up on terminal twigs of the leafless branches.

Usage notes[edit]

S. domestica is sometimes called the true service tree to distinguish it from the wild service tree (S. torminalis).




See also[edit]