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John Mitchell

Sorbus x aria
John Mitchell whitebeam leaves
John Mitchell has received the RHS Award of Garden MeritJohn Mitchell is listed in the RHS Plants for Pollinators

John Mitchell is a popular whitebeam. It has particularly large leaves, with white-green undersides, a characteristic of whitebeams.

In autumn the leaves take on russet tones. The abundant fruitlets are also brown, somewhat resembling tiny apples - reflecting the distant relationship between Sorbus and Malus species.

John Mitchell whitebeam trees for sale

  • 2-year pot-grown tree £71.95
    In a 12L pot
    Medium size (2.5m-3.5m after 10 years)
You can now pre-order for next season.

How to grow

John Mitchell is a hardy and vigorous whitebeam, fast-growing, and suitable for almost any situation.


The original John Mitchell tree is at the Westonbirt Arboreturm in Gloucestershire and was the arboretum's "Tree of the Month" in August 2016. It is usually considered to belong to the species Sorbus thibetica (the Tibetan Whitebeam) but is now believed to be a hybrid of Sorbus aria. It is named after the arbortum's first curator, John Mitchell.

John Mitchell characteristics

  • Gardening skillBeginner
  • AwardsRHS AGM (current) - 1993
  • Attractive featuresAttractive foliage
  • Growth habitUpright-spreading / Vase
  • Height after 10 years3m-5m / 10ft-16ft
  • PruningDo not prune
  • Growth rateFast
  • Site conditionsCoastal siteWindy site
  • WildlifeAttractive to birdsRHS Plants for Pollinators
  • Flower colourWhite
  • Flowering monthMayJune
  • Leaf colourGrey-green
  • Leaf colour - autumnMultiple tints
  • Fruit colourBrown
  • Fruit persistencePersistent
  • Country of originUnited Kingdom
  • Annual cycleDeciduous

Similar varieties

  • See also Sorbus wardii
    Sorbus wardii
    Sorbus wardii
    A little-known Whitebeam from the Himalayas, featuring large silver-green leaves and yellow-orange berries.

How to choose a Rowan or Whitebeam tree

We list more than 50 Sorbus (rowan and whitebeam) trees. Choosing can be difficult! Our article explaining the different berry and leaf colours might help narrow down the selection.