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A shrub to about 8 ft high in the wild, taller in cultivation (at least when grafted); branchlets grey in their second year, with pale lenticels; winter-buds small, grey-brown or greenish brown, white-hairy at the tip and at the edge of the scales. Leaves simple, broadly elliptic to slightly ovate, 3 to 4 in. long, 2 to 3 in. wide, obtuse at the apex, broad-cuneate at the base, with ten to twelve pairs of lateral veins, clad beneath with a close greyish white tomentum, sharply and irregularly serrate, lobed around the middle, the lobes not extending more than a quarter of the way towards the midrib; petiole 1⁄2 to 7⁄8 in. long. Inflorescence thinly woolly, variable in size. Flowers white, about 3⁄8 in. wide, with creamy filaments and anthers. Styles two or three. Fruits more or less globose, about 3⁄8 in. wide, very sparsely to fairly densely dotted with lenticels; calyx-lobes forming a cone, slightly fleshy at the base.
S. anglica is an interesting minor species, endemic to the British Isles, where it is found on carboniferous limestone in parts of southwest England, Wales and Ireland (Co. Kerry, Eire). It appears to be a complex species, with a number of slightly differing local races, all tetraploid and reproducing themselves apomictically. It is of hybrid origin, probably deriving three sets of chromosomes from the Aria group and one from S. aucuparia. When first noticed, it was considered to be the British form of S. intermedia and was first distinguished by Hedlund in 1914. It does not make a substantial tree as S. intermedia does; the leaves are not so deeply lobed; the lateral veins are in more numerous pairs and the lower ones do not arch so much; and the lobes are usually entire on the inner margin or have only one tooth there, while in S. intermedia the inner side has usually more than one tooth; and the fruits are more or less globular, longer than wide in S. intermedia. The difference in the colour of the leaf-indumentum, greyish white in S. anglica and yellowish in S. intermedia, applies only to herbarium specimens of some age.
S. anglica has the merit of being of smaller stature than S. aria and with more interesting foliage, though the leaves are not so white beneath. There are some five examples in the Hillier Arboretum, raised from seeds collected by Roy Lancaster above the Cheddar Gorge. These have bright scarlet fruits. On the plant in the Winkworth Arboretum they are darker, more crimson scarlet.
S. mougeotii Soy.-Willem. & Godr. – Similar to S. anglica, but a tree up to 60 ft high, with relatively narrower leaves and, in the cultivated form, with more numerous lobes. Fruits usually without lenticels, about 3⁄8 in. wide, globular. S. mougeotii was discovered in the Vosges about 1850 by Dr Mougeot the French bryologist and brought into cultivation in the Botanic Garden at Nancy, where it was described in 1858. It is found as far west as the Pyrenees and in the east ranges as far as Austria. In the subsp. austriaca (G. Beck) Hayek, which appears to overlap with the typical state, the leaves are relatively broader than in S. mougeotii and more like those of S. anglica.
Some plants distributed as S. mougeotii are ‘Theophrasta’, q.v. under S. latifolia.
S. mougeotii – The specimen at Kew measures 35 × 31⁄2 ft (1979).