...Jill H. in Washington who chose the Rowan All Season's Cotton, and Jennifer V. in Pennsylvania who gets the sock yarn both chosen with an online random number generator.
Holey moley, there were 107 correct answers and another 4 people who had the right answer but one name only. Other guesses were various forms of: Pyracanthus (14), Sumac (4), Bittersweet (4), Elderberry (3), Juniper bush (1), Red Chokeberry (1), Holly (1), Highbush Cranberry (1), Honeysuckle (1), Chokecherry (1). 4 people thought it might be a coffee tree. What I would give to harvest my own coffee in the mountains out the back door!
On to some of the other correct answers, of which, I learned, there are MANY possibilities. The most common ones, the ones I mostly had in mind as well, Mountain Ash (the most common North American name), Rowan, (the common British name), and the genus Sorbus (with many variations as to which species). The ones pictured in the previous post are most likely either Sorbus stitchensis or Sorbus scopulina and they're more shrubby than tree-like. There are many other varieties, including a white-berried one, and I think the most common one planted in yards around here is Sorbus aucuparia.
Other names given were Reyniber (Icelandic), Rönn (Swedish), Røgn, Røgnebær or Asal (Norway), Røn or Roennebær (Danish), Pihjala (Finland), Sorbier des Oiseax or Sorbier des Oiseleurs (French), Wildelijsterbes (Holland), Vogelbeer or Eberesche (Germany), Uvez Agaci (?), Serbal Silvestre (?), Missey-mossey, Indian Moosey-missy, Indian Mozemize, Wild Ash, Tree-of-Life, Life-Of-Man, Witchbane, Witchwood, Witchen, Thor's Salvation, Dogbane, Dogberry, Hen Drunk, Cock Drunk, Fowler's Service, American Service, White Beam, Quick Beam, Round Wood, Wine Tree.
I'm sure this list is by no means exhaustive. There is much legend and folklore surrounding this plant. Thank you for sharing what you know of, and links to information about this plant, and for sharing your stories, which range from having one in your yard, either now or when you were young, having made jelly from the berries and either loving it or despising it, having named your children after this tree, and having a tattoo of it on your body, and more.
Our eldest son is named after the tree (not the yarn, although that's where I first heard the name about 20 years ago, later associating it with the tree.) There. Now you know what R stands for but I'll continue to refer to him by his first initial here. It was pretty funny taking him into yarns stores as a toddler and constantly having to call his name and ask him to put that ball of yarn back where he'd found it.
While pregnant, I was really picturing a brown-haired girl with that name. We ended up with a blond haired boy and somehow the name still fit. We planted the tree in our yard after he was born. Other tree names we considered were Birch for a boy or girl and Maple for a girl. E, by the way, is not named for a tree but we planted a burr oak for him the spring after he was born.
The picture above is from a matching carved set, vanity table and mirror, that was shown by another exhibitor last week at the design conference we attended in Jackson Hole.
Many of the names for this tree, in several languages, refer to it's appeal to birds: In this area, the cedar waxwings tend to flock to the trees sometimes gettting drunk off fermenting berries in the fall. At our house, however, grouse come in and eat them. The tree has also long been considered a magical tree that keeps witches and fairies away, but hopefully just the bad ones! I've hung a bunch of of berried branches by the front door.
Thank you all for playing along. I learned so much from this, too, and now have more to share with R about the origins of his name. I'd love to hear anything more you might know.