Moixera (Catalan) | Raña, sorba (Galician) | Mostageiro (Portuguese) | Mostajo(Spanish) | Alisier blanc (French)
A deciduous tree that reaches a height of 25 m, with furry branches and grey and smooth bark.
The leaves are simple, alternate (more pronounced amongst the middle branch and at the extremes, at times appearing jointed), broadly ovate, rounded or ovulate-lanceolate, between 4-12 cm in length and 2-9 cm wide, serrated and sometimes with shallow spikes or lobes. The underside is covered in a dense layer of whitish or greyish velvety tomentum (down).
The flowers are white blossoming in spring in dense clusters, the fruit on ripening are red or brownish, globular or somewhat oval and less than 1 cm in diameter.
They tend to accompany beech, birch, oak groves as well as Gall (Portuguese) oak, Holly, Holm oak and humid pine forests, on their edges, clearings and margins. At other times they grow in crevices and rocky areas difficult to access, rarely forming thickets.
Indifferent to soil type and growing from sea level to a height of 2200 m,
they are distributed across a large part of Europe and Asia where they reach the Himalayas, meanwhile in the south, reaching the Atlas mountains. On the Iberian Peninsula, they are more abundant in the north and disappearing in the south-west.
In traditional healing practices, the fruit is perhaps the most widely used. Its chemical composition produce an astringent and anti-diarrhoeal effect through the tannins, and on the other hand they contain sorbitol, a product that has a mild laxative effect.
Sorbus was the Roman name given to common Whitebeam (being related to the rowan); aria was an earlier name for mustard and comes from the land of the Aryans, part of the Persian empire.