Herb latin name: Sorbus japonica

Synonyms: Aria japonica, Micromeles japonica, Pyrus commutata

Family: Rosaceae (Rose Family)

Edible parts of Sorbus japonica:

Fruit - raw or cooked. The fruit is up to 13mm across and is produced in bunches which makes harvesting easier.

Description of the plant:


20 m
(66 feet)


Habitat of the herb:

Hills and mountains, C. and S. Japan.

Propagation of Sorbus japonica:

Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. If you have sufficient seed it can be sown in an outdoor seedbed. Stored seed germinates better if given 2 weeks warm then 14 - 16 weeks cold stratification, so sow it as early in the year as possible. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle. Seedlings are very slow to put on top-growth for their first year or two, but they are busy building up a good root system. It is best to keep them in pots in a cold frame for their first winter and then plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring.

Cultivation of the herb:

Hills and mountains, C. and S. Japan.

Medicinal use of Sorbus japonica:

None known

Known hazards of Sorbus japonica:

The seeds probably contain hydrogen cyanide. This is the ingredient that gives almonds their characteristic flavour. Unless the seed is very bitter it should be perfectly safe in reasonable quantities. In small quantities, hydrogen cyanide has been shown to stimulate respiration and improve digestion, it is also claimed to be of benefit in the treatment of cancer. In excess, however, it can cause respiratory failure and even death.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.