Excerpts from Jim Conrad's
from the the August 16, 2009 Newsletter, reporting on a
visit to Rogue River National Forest in southwestern Oregon:
MOUNTAIN-ASHES IN FULL FRUIT
Here and there in moist soil along the Rogue's rocky banks, often in fairly shaded spots, very handsome, tree-borne clusters of orange fruits showed up, seen above.
This is a Cascade Mountain-ash, also called Greene's Mountain-ash, Rowan Tree, and other names; it's SORBUS SCOPULINA, not an ash tree at all but rather a member of the Rose Family, closely related to the crabapples. Members of the genus Sorbus, of which there may be up to 200 species, are called mountain-ashes. A hyphen is used in the name to emphasize that they're not ashes; they're mountain-ashes.
Because the small pomes are so handsome often Sorbus species are planted in gardens, especially in chilly, rainy northern Europe. In the US Northeast the American Mountain-ash, Sorbus americana, is a similar species. Our Cascade species is distributed from British Columbia south to central California and west to Montana and New Mexico. Often it's more a shrub than a tree, but the ones I saw, surrounded by Vine Maples, were small trees.