Sorbus x aria John Mitchell

John Mitchell whitebeam leaves
  • Height 10 years: 3m-5m / 10ft-16ft
  • Growth habit: Upright-spreading
  • Leaf colour - autumn: Multiple tints
  • Fruit colour: Brown

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.

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 trees for sale

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How to grow

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

John Mitchell characteristics

Growing

  • Attractive features: Attractive foliage
  • Height 10 years: 3m-5m / 10ft-16ft
  • Growth habit: Upright-spreading
  • Growth rate: Fast
  • Vigour: Average vigour
  • Site conditions: Coastal site Windy site
  • Useful for: Open spaces Street / amenity
  • Hardiness rating (RHS): H6 (to -20C)
  • Pruning: Do not prune
  • Disease resistance: Good
  • Gardening skill: Suitable for beginners

Identification

  • Country of origin: United Kingdom
  • Flowering month: May June
  • Flower colour: White
  • Leaf colour: Grey-green
  • Leaf colour - young: Grey-green
  • Leaf colour - autumn: Multiple tints
  • Fruit colour: Brown
  • Annual cycle: Deciduous
  • Awards: RHS Award of Garden Merit

Using

  • Fruit persistence: Persistent
  • Wildlife: Attractive to birds

How to choose a Rowan or Whitebeam tree

We have a very wide range of Sorbus (rowan and whitebeam) trees. Choosing can be difficult! Our article explaining the different berry and leaf colours might help narrow down the selection.