Sorbus torminalis, wild service tree, checker tree seeds

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Sorbus torminalis, Checker tree seeds


Sorbus torminalis belongs to the familiy of the Rosaceae, the rose family. S. torminalis is native to South and Middle Europe. It is also known as wild service tree, chequer tree or checker tree. S. torminalis can get 100 years old, so this tree is something for a lifetime. The wild service tree was the tree of the year 2011 in Germany. S. torminalis grows can reach heights from 15 to 22 meters. The tree top can be ovate or roundish. The wild service tree grows quite slow. The bark is gray to brown. The trunk reaches half a meter in diameter. The leaves of the checker tree are lobate and resemble those of the maple. They get 12 cm long and are dark green on the upper side, glossy and feel leathery whereas the bottom side is light green. In fall the leaves of the summer green S. torminalis get yellow to brown. The flowers of the checker tree are white and are clustered in inflorescences (panicle). They get pollinated by insects and are hermaphrodite. Male and female flowers are on one tree (monoecious). The fruit of the checker tree is a small berry that is first olive green and gets brown when it is ripe. It reaches 1,5 cm in diameter. The blackbird and the song thrush like the berries. They eat them and distribute the seeds in that way. The fruits are also edible for humans but one should wait until the berries are overripe. They are almost plashy in that stadium and taste a little sour. This fact can also be seen in the botanical name of the plant. “Sorbus” comes from “sorb” meaning acetous and “torminalis” comes from” tormina” meaning stomach ache. In former times the wild service tree was indeed used against stomach ache. One can also make schnapps form the berries. The wood of the checker tree is used to build furniture and it is also used for parquet floor. The wood is very hard but at the same time elastic. The color is also very nice. It is first light and gets dark reddish after a while.


Cultivation of Sorbus torminalis seeds

The seeds of S. torminalis need pretreatment. First of all the seed should be put into really hot water. After that they should lay for 6 to 12 h in water. After that they can be planted 1 cm deep into the substrate. The seeds in the substrate should stay for 3 month in the fridge. This stratification is necessary for the germination success. After the 3 month in the fridge the seeds in the substrate should be placed sunny and warm. At a temperature of about 20 to 25°C germination occurs. The wild service tree tolerates temperatures down to minus 10 °C.

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