What American mountain-ash looks like

Size and shape

  • Medium-sized tree up to 10 metres tall.


  • Dark green or yellow leaves with pale undersides.
  • Have 13 to 17 toothed leaflets (5 to 10 centimetres).


  • Smooth, light grayish brown bark when young.
  • Becomes rough with age.


  • White flowers grow in dense umbrella-shaped clusters with broad petals at the tip (3 to 4 millimetres).
  • Bloom in May and June.


  • Bunches of bright orange-red berries (4 to 6 millimetres) that mature in August.

Where American mountain-ash is found

American mountain-ash is found across the boreal forest region of Ontario, south to the northern-most portions of Southern Ontario.

What you need to know to grow American mountain-ash

  • Moisture: grows best in moist soil but tolerates dry conditions.
  • Shade: grows best in full sun or partial shade.
  • Soil: grows in a variety of soils.
  • Caution: American mountain ash can grow in rocky and dry soil, but growth will be stunted.

Benefits and uses of American mountain-ash

Wildlife benefits

American mountain-ash fruit are a food source for many birds and mammals, including:

  • songbirds including catbirds, thrushes, waxwings and robins
  • moose

Pollinators such as birds and bees are attracted to the flowers.

Commercial uses

American mountain-ash is rarely used as an ornamental tree because it is less tolerant in urban settings than European mountain ash (also known as rowan).

Fun facts about American mountain-ash

  • American mountain-ash seeds are dispersed in bird droppings.
  • Pioneer doctors would use the bark as an anti-malarial medicine because it closely resembled quinine trees.
  • American mountain-ash trees grow well at high altitudes, which is where the species gets its name.