The Rowan Tree

Sorbus aucuparia

Mountain Ash

Rowan is a fast-growing  tree in the Caledonian Forest, known by its brilliant red berries in the Autumn. In Scotland today, rowans are often found growing in inaccessible locations, such as cliffs, steep stream-sides and on top of large boulders. These are not the preferred locations for the species, but rather  the only places where it has been able to grow out of reach of deer.

The rowan is in Norse mythology as the tree from which the first woman was made, (the first man being made from the ash tree). It was said to have saved the life of the god Thor by bending over a fast flowing river in the Underworld in which Thor was being swept away, and helping him back to the shore.

The rowan's wood is strong and resillient, making excellent walking sticks, and is suitable for carving. It was often used for tool handles,  spindles and spinning wheels were traditionally made of rowan.