pinnate, deeply lobed. Uncommon.
An indicator tree of ancient woodland.
"The Camelot", another in Chigwell Row Reserve.
Grey bark in younger trees. This one photographed near The Camelot.
The bark in older trees
has a small rectangular scaly appearance. Photographed in Lord's
Bushes, Epping Forest
Wild Service tree leaves.
Photo: © Vic George
Flowers of Wild Service
Unlike fruits of other
Sorbus species which are red the fruits or chequers are a reddish
brown. They are very sugary and are best gathered after the autumn
Wild Service Tree or
Chequer Sorbus torminalis
The Wild Service
Tree is found in most counties south of Cumbria but not in great
numbers. Its main concentration is in the south-east where it favours
the heavy clays. It is found locally in good numbers as mature trees,
saplings and suckers. Many of the mature trees would have arisen from
suckers from an earlier tree, and the lineage could go back hundreds
or even thousands of years, as studies in Epping Forest have found.
Mature and suckered trees can be found in Epping Forest
particularly Lord's Bushes and on Staples Hill. It is also well
distributed in the Hainault Forest area - in Claybury Woods, Chigwell
Row Wood, Lambourne Wood near the Camelot, and Ape's Grove near
Abridge. All of these woodlands are ancient in origin and there has
been continuity of woodland there. In the south-east the local
name for the tree is Chequers and this is reflected in the name of
Public Houses such as The Chequers at Barkingside, Ilford, Essex.