Source for Cormus (formerly Sorbus) domestica in the US?

This tree has been at the top of my list for a few years now - the largest of the pome trees, unique fruits with interesting uses, but essentially unavailable outside of Europe. One Green World used to offer them bareroot, but have been out of stock for some time now. One or two major seed distributors have seeds available, but I’ve heard varying accounts as to their quality. Does anyone have a lead on where to get Sorbus domestica trees, fruit, or seeds in the US? Thanks!

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Grafted sorbus domestica is scarce even in Europe. Most of the plants sold in my country are propagated in vitro usually without a pedigree and start producing after 12 years on the average just like the seedlings. Grafted plants fruit after 5 years. I grow 2-3 premium large fruited varieties but the trees are still small. I can get you fresh seeds in Nov if you like. They germinate like cress after stratification.


Just to concur with what @Harbin said - you have to be patient with Sorbus domestica. Seedlings around 10 years old kept weed free and irrigated are over 4 meters in height and still has not flowered. Other trees left to their own 10++ years latter close to 5 meters and still no flowers. Also they usually do not set fruit in their first flowering year.
IMO one of the main reasons for the long juvenile period comes from their growth habits - straight up growth. I’m sure bending the limbs will speed up fruiting. I have grafted other varieties on some of the big seedlings and they flowered in 3 years while the seedlings still have not. The graft’s growth was more lateral.


What is the common name of this tree please?

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Service tree


These things are not particularly easy to graft and they won’t grow on anything but sorbus domestica. The scions or buds take well but refuse to shoot …a rather common scenario…as if the principle of apical dominance doesn’t work here. But the rootstock shoots everywhere even from the roots. Good plant for grafters who like the challenge. Fruits when bletted properly are delicious.


Sorbus domestica is my favorite fruit! Excellent flavor, and extremely productive. I have a fair amount of seeds that I collected this fall, and I’m happy to mail free seeds (and growing instructions) to anyone in the United States. They are relatively easy to grow if you stratify them in the fridge from November until they germinate in March or so. I haven’t grafted this species before, but have been told that they can also be grafted onto Sorbus torminalis (“wild service tree”) because they grow at the same speed to a similar size, so I am also growing some of these seeds to eventually use as rootstock. You can reach my at or through instagram


I did notice that on the mature trees I collected seeds from that their main trunks (multi-trunk starting at a high point - possibly from being topped in the past?) were rigidly upright. However, the fruiting branches all were rather lax in growth habit. I have a few S. domestica seedlings I tried to graft over to a clonal selection with large fruit, but the grafts all failed and now I have a few short multi-branch specimens that I’m feeling inspired to experiment with by continuing to encourage floppy branch production… On the topic of grafting I think the reason my grafts failed was that the scion I received from the USDA was collected WAY too late and already had significant bud swell upon arrival. No time for the graft unions to heal before growth started pushing (they did push growth before dying).

Update on bending S. domestica leaders to encourage early fruiting. I had a couple with bent leaders and the result was that new leaders emerged from lower on the trunk to replace them and re-form very vertical trunks.

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I would head the sapling at 80 to 100 cm and let the suckers near the cut grow for 1 year, removing all others below them. A year later I’ll thin the suckers to 4-5 if necessary and head them at 15-20 cm. New suckers will form. Again any new growth below the present region is removed. Also, all inward-facing suckers are removed. What remains is the original trunk plus 2 sets of outward offsets.

This process is repeated a few more years. At 5 offsets you will have a vase forming and the process can stop. The tree should also begin to bear, and the weight of the fruits will widen the vase a bit further. Annual removal of some internal verticals will still be necessary.

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So you are basically suggesting a pruning technique similar to coppicing? Is this based on prior success?

I imagine the technique you described would end up with a form similar to planting multiple trees in a hole the Dave Wilson way, where vigor would be reduced and fruit production should be years sooner?

Successfully training multiple trunks in a vase shape may cause difficulty in maintaining lower branches as the angle would cast more shade on lower branches. This species seems to readily kill off branches that don’t receive good sun exposure.

No, not at all. It is not intended to induced early fruiting. Instead, it is intended to sculpt a vase out of an otherwise stubbornly vertical Genus.

Yes, twice now with Hood Pear.


Hood Pear:

I’m reading that its native range includes the Atlas Mtns. Hmm … perhaps I should try it here … well, likely not.

If you look at the map of distribution, Atlas Mts. have only two marked spots which means probably only 2 specimen trees. That means it is negligible compared to the Europe as a whole.

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Burnt Ridge currently lists this in their catalogue.