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ForestHarvest: non-timber forest products in Scotland

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Rowan (Sorbus aucuparia)

Family: Rosaceae

Description

Small to medium-sized tree with white flowers and orange berries.

Habitat

Many types of woodland.

Uses

The berries make excellent (slightly bitter) jelly, usually served with meat. They can also be brewed into wine, or soaked in spirits to prepare a type of liqueur.

An infusion of the berries can be used as a gargle for sore throats, and of the bark and leaves for thrush. A teaspoonful of rowan jelly per day is said to stimulate the apetite.

Sprigs of rowan were traditionally used to ward off misfortune and malicious spirits, etc.

Gathering

Gather the berries in August-November.

 

Wild Harvests research - uses in Scotland today

Rowan berries: used to provide food and beverages for personal use, gifts and processed items for sale

Rowan flowers: used to provide craft materials for personal use

Photo - rowan berries and leaves
Other information

Rowan berries are among the 10 most commonly gathered Scottish NTFPs, according to the Wild Harvests report.