Sorbus aria – meelbes White Beam

Sorbus aria or meelbes is a beautiful and convenient tree as an ornamental tree in gardens and as street trees

Sorbus aria (Bot.)
White Beam (Eng.)
Alisier blanc (French)
Gemein Mehlbeere (German)
Rosaceae – Rose family

The meelbes found as an ornamental tree in gardens and as street trees. He is nice and easy, because he does not need fertilizing or pruning. The mealy flesh was the reason for the Dutch name.


The meelbes grows in Central and Southern Europe, England, Scandinavia, the northern part of South East Europe and North Africa. In the Alps, he is up to a height of 1600 m on sunny slopes, beech and coniferous forests found. In the Netherlands and Belgium, he is planted as an ornamental tree.


The Latin word meaning meelbesboom Sorbus aria.

plant Characteristics

The meelbes is a small, up to 15 m high deciduous deciduous tree or large shrub with a round or ovoid crown. Often he has a shrub-like appearance with steeply ascending branches. The first twigs are gray-matted and red-brown olive.

The leaf buds are brownish to almost green. The young shoots have the same colors and dense felt-like hairs.

The leaves are elliptical, 6-12 cm long and witviltig. The edges are irregular cut. The top is dark green, weakly glossy, while the bottom remains witviltig. In autumn the leaves yellow and partly remain long on the tree.

After the vegetation flowers appear in May in screen-like plumes. The flowers are hermaphroditic. The sepals and flower steal his witviltig.

The fruits grow in dense clusters from the leaf. They are egg-shaped apple fruits. At maturity (in October) they are usually scarlet and tweezadig. They have a mealy flesh and a sour taste and continue into the winter on the tree.

The bark is gray and usually irregularly marbled with long smooth grooves.

The meelbes is a slow grower.


With us it is hardly known that the fruits of the meelbes edible. After the first frost they are soft, sweet and can be used for sauce, as addition of acid to fruit jams, jelly, juice and wine. In Germany and southern Europe longifolia Sorbus aria is usually planted as the orange-colored fruits are larger and have better flavor. The varieties ‘Majestica’ or ‘Decaisneana’ have larger fruits than ‘aria’. They are oval and blood red.

Sorbus chamaemespilus


The meelbes requires a porous, slightly acidic soil and a sunny spot. Also on stony loamy soil and does it well.


Fertilization and pruning are not necessary.

Sorbus berries and fruit thuringiaca Meelbes

related species

Swedish meelbes (Sorbus intermedia)
Elsbes (Sorbus torminalis)
Broadleaf meelbes (Sorbus x latifolia)
Bergmeelbes (Sorbus mougeoutii)
Dwergmeelbes (Sorbus chamaemespilus)
Sorbus x thuringiaca ‘Fastigiata’, mainly in Hesse, Franconia and Thuringia (Germany).

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