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Rowan001

Rowan tree.

Rowans are mostly small deciduous trees 10–20 m tall, though a few are shrubs. The leaves are arranged alternately, and are pinnate, with (7-)11-35 leaflets; a terminal leaflet is always present. The flowers are borne in dense corymbs; each flower is creamy white, and 5–10*mm across with five petals. The fruit is a small pome 4–8mm diameter, bright orange or red in most species, but pink, yellow or white in some Asian species. The fruit are soft and juicy, which makes them a very good food for birds, particularly waxwings and thrushes, which then distribute the Rowan seeds in their droppings. Due to their small size the fruits are often referred to as berries, but a berry is a simple fruit produced from a single ovary, whereas a pome is an accesory fruit.

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The Rowan is also known as the Mountain Ash and the Witchtree (because of the pentagram that can be found at the base of its berries). It has always been regarded as an aid for protection against evil charms and enchantment. It is believed that if it is planted at the gate of your garden it will ward away evil spirits, if used as a walking stick it will protect the traveller from evil and guide him home safely. In addition it is associated with astral travel, vision and healing. The berries and leaves are dried and burned as incense to invoke spirits, familiars, spirit guides, and the elements.

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