Whitebeams, Sorbus spp.

The Garden has a large collection of whitebeam, Sorbus trees and we are working to conserve these UK endemic species.

Within the whitebeam genus, species produce seeds without having sex, meaning the offspring are clones of the parents. Occasionally sexual reproduction will occur with other individuals, and between species. These new hybrid offspring are often described as separate species, with quite different ecology and habitats. They often have low numbers and many are endangered.

Tracey Hamston is studying the ecology and genetics of these trees in order to find out more about how these new species evolve and the best way to conserve these complex groups.