Sorbus aria 'Lutescens' & Rufus The Orange CatSaturday, May 02, 2009
On Thursday I took Hilary to the SPCA to look for a cat that would replace her Raúl who has gone missing for two weeks. Raúl is 15 years old and he was not well. After seeing a cat she liked (he was an orange cat called Rufus) she said she would wait and have Bruce and the girls see it. Alas this was not to be as when we returned with the girls today Rufus was being put in a carrying box to be taken home.
There was one wonderful moment on Thursday. I took Hilary to Kaplan’s and we had a Montreal smoked meat sandwich which we enjoyed with a black cherry soda. On our way to her house I passed by Montgomery, between 42nd Street and 41st and I had to stop the car. There were trees on that block that I had never seen. They had rugose silver white leaves. One of the trees had been recently planted. It had a tag! The tag read Sorbus aria ‘Lutescens’. A sorbus is commonly called a Mountain Ash which is a member of the very large rose family. While it is called a mountain ash it is not an ash as an ash is from a different genus, Fraxinus.
I could not figure why this variety was called 'Lutescens' as that means yellowish, and I could not see yellow anywhere.
I went home and did some investigation with my tree books. This tree is called a whitebeam and the mysterious yellow is to be found in the down of the silvery young leaves. There is a hint of that in the upper view of the scan seen below left.
The long row of whitebeams on Montgomery was dazzling. They were ghosts that cheered me up. I will have to return to see what the summer white flowers look like. Like many mountain ashes the whitebeam will have clusters of red berries in the fall.
When Rebecca found out that Rufus had been taken she cried. I could not console her. It seems that she has grown up just a bit with the experience while Lauren seem to show no emotion. Perhaps at age 6 she was not aware how quickly Rufus won our hearts and how fate then broke them.
Addendum: I became curious on the closeness between sorbus and sorbitol. The connection is logical. Here it is:
Sorbitol, a sugar substitute also occurs naturally in many stone fruits and berries from trees of the genus sorbus.