December 21, 2009 | Panayoti Kelaidis, Senior Curator & Director of Outreach

Rocky Mountain mountain ash (Sorbus scopulina)

Okay, the berries aren't bright red, but they are certainly festive and are worthy to deck my halls! I am always mystified that anything as gorgeous as European Mountain ash (Sorbus aucuparia) is really not that frequently planted. Our native mountain ash is essentially non-existent in gardens. This time of year, European mountain ash and firethorn are especially vivid as you drive around our cities. This picture was taken in September on the Mesa Trail, less than a mile from the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder. We have several native mountain ashes at Denver Botanic Gardens: their berries seem to be an even more vivid red than their European cousin, and easily twice as large. I've noticed that birds always devour the berries of our native mountain ash in the autumn, but the European mountain ash persists until the spring..why is that, I wonder?

The Gardens are full of berries this time of year: bright blue hollyberries, and the drupes on hawthorns and cotoneasters and the vivid orange of various Sorbus. Once you've feasted your stomach on berries in pies and holiday desserts, you can come walk the gardens and feast your eyes on our holiday berries!

Berry Christmas and a Holly New Year!


Add new comment