Ella, sent me this pretty card with a picture of a Rowan tree. Now, the rowans or mountain-ashes are shrubs or small trees in genus Sorbus of family Rosaceae. They are native throughout the cool temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere.
The best-known species is the European Rowan Sorbus aucuparia, a small tree typically 4–12 m tall growing in a variety of habitats throughout northern Europe and in mountains in southern Europe and southwest Asia. Its berries are a favourite food for many birds and are a traditional wild-collected food in Britain and Scandinavia. It is one of the hardiest European trees, occurring to 71° north in Vardø in Arctic Norway, and has also become widely naturalised in northern North America.
Rowans are excellent small ornamental trees for parks, gardens and wildlife areas. They are very attractive to fruit-eating birds, which is reflected in the old name "bird catcher".
The wood is dense and used for carving and turning and for tool handles and walking sticks. Rowan fruit are a traditional source of tannins for mordanting vegetable dyes. In Finland, it has been a traditional wood of choice for horse sled shafts and rake spikes.