Specification & Spread

Rowan fruits — fructus sorbi
Common rowan — Sorbus aucuparia L.
Rose family — Rosaceae
Other names: mountain ash, ashberry.
It is a tree up to 6-15 (20) m tall and smaller than a shrub. The bark is smooth and grey. The head is loose. The young branches are pubescent. The leaves are with stipules, alternate, unpaired, pinnatural and have 4-7 pairs of oblong-lanceolate and serrated small leaves. The flowers are  pentamerous, white, 8-15 mm in diameter. It has a sharp unpleasant odour of trimethylamine, gathered in a dense corymbose inflorescence up to 10 cm in diameter. The fruit is almost spherical, apple-shaped (apple), juicy and orange-red.
It blooms in May – June, the fruits ripen in August – September. Until winter the fruits are stored in the shields.
Spreading. It grows almost throughout the forest zone of the European part of the country, in the Urals, in the mountain forest belt of the Caucasus and the mountainous regions of Crimea. In Siberia, another species grows such as Siberian rowan (Sorbus sibirica Hedl.), It is attributed by a number of authors to the common rowan species.
Habitat. It grows in the undergrowth of coniferous and mixed forests, along forest edges, clearings, the banks of reservoirs. In parks and gardens it is diluted as an ornamental plant. A good harvest gives once in 2-4 years. In terms of culture it reaches a larger size and more productive than when growing in natural conditions.


Rowan fruits contain:

  • carotenoids (up to 20 mg%),
  • ascorbic acid (up to 200 mg%), vitamins P, B2, E,
  • sugar – sorbose,
  • alcohol – sorbitol,
  • sorbic acid,
  • flavonoids,
  • anthocyanins, leukoanthocyanidins,
  • triterpene compounds (ursolic acid),
  • organic acids (3.9%),
  • up to 2% of pectic substances,
  • a small amount of essential oil.

The seeds contain:

  • fatty oil,
  • glycoside amygdalin,
  • phospholipids.

Harvesting and storage of raw materials

Harvesting. The ripe fruits are harvested in autumn until frost. Secateurs, knives or scissors cut off the whole shields and separate the fruits before drying.
Security measures. The branches are preserved from breakage. While the planned sanitary logging, rowan is protected.
Drying. The fruits are laid out on a layer of 3-5 cm on the fabric or paper and dried in a dryer at a temperature of 60-80 °C. In dry weather, natural drying is possible. The end of the drying set on the elasticity of the fruit. The dried fruits should not be faded or blackened, it should not clump when it is compressed.
Storage. It is stored in a dry place.

Whole raw materials
The fruits are apple-shaped and without stems. It has 2-5-pedals which are rounded or oval-rounded, up to 9 mm in diameter, shiny and strongly wrinkled. At the apex it has the remaining calyx of five inconspicuous interlocking leaf teeth. In the fruit pulp there are from 2 to 7 slightly sickle-curved, oblong, smooth reddish-brown seeds with sharp ends.
The colour of the fruit is reddish or yellowish-orange and brownish-red. The smell is weak and peculiar. The taste is bitter-bitter.
In the transverse section of the fruit (magnifying glass 10 ×) there are 2-5 seed cells. The walls of the cells are gristly, hard and fused with the pulp. Within each cell there are 1-2 seeds with a reddish-brown, hard seed coat and white seed core. The fruit pulp is loose, fleshy and covered on the top of the peel.
A mixture of particles is passing through a sieve with holes of 2 mm in diameter.
The colour varies from reddish or yellowish orange to brownish red with whitish patches.
The smell is weak and peculiar. The taste is bitter.

Properties and application

The pharmacological properties of rowan
Rowan fruits are valuable as polyvitaminic raw materials. Especially, there are a lot of:

  • provitamin A – beta carotene,
  • as well as vitamin P and
  • ascorbic acid.

The gelling properties of pectins contribute to:

  • the binding of endogenous and exogenous toxins and
  • removal of excess carbohydrates.

Organic acids and bitter substances of rowan:

  • increase secretion and
  • enhance the digestive capacity of gastric juice, which, along with the choleretic effect helps to improve digestion.

Oil extraction from the fruits of rowan, containing a significant amount of carotenoids, have:

  • wound healing,
  • anti-inflammatory effect.

Application of rowan
Rowan fruits are used in fresh and dried form as a therapeutic and prophylactic agent for vitamin deficiency. In the form of powder or juice, rowan is included in the diet of patients with diabetes and obesity, in order to bind in the intestine some carbohydrates. In these cases rowan is prepared on sorbitol, xylitol and fructose.

It is contradicted with hypersensitivity to preparation components, child age up to 3 years.