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Rowan (genus Sorbus), also known as mountain ash, is a genus of shrubs and small trees of family Rosaceae. They are native throughout the cool temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere, with the highest species diversity in the mountains of western China and the Himalaya, where numerous apomictic microspecies occur.[3]

The Wiggentree was a magical variety of rowan.[1]


Rowan wood had always been a prized and much-favoured wand wood due to its reputation for being more protective than any other wood. It was noted by Garrick Ollivander to have rendered all manner of Defensive Charms especially strong and difficult to break.[2]

Rowan was also noted for its believed disassociation with the Dark Arts. Ollivander, who had a nearly photographic memory when it came to the wands he had sold, could not recall a single instance of a wizard he had sold a rowan wand to ever becoming evil or turning to the Dark Arts.

Rowan was most happily placed with the clear-headed and the pure-hearted, though Ollivander noted that this reputation for virtue ought not to fool anyone – these wands could equally match, often the better, and even frequently out-perform others in duels.[2]

There was an old poem regarding various wand woods which went: "rowan gossips, chestnut drones, ash is stubborn, hazel moans". Garrick Ollivander believed that there was some truth in this rhyme.[2]

Ollivander also noted that wizards chosen by rowan wands tended to be compatible with those chosen by elder wands.[2]


The name "rowan" is derived from the Old Norse name for the tree, raun. Linguists believe that the Norse name is ultimately derived from a proto-Germanic word raudnian meaning "getting red" and which referred to the red foliage and red berries in the autumn. Rowan is one of the familiar wild trees in the British Isles, and has acquired numerous English folk names.

The following are recorded folk names for the rowan: Delight of the eye (Luisliu), Mountain ash, Quickbane, Quickbeam, Quicken (tree), Quickenbeam, Ran tree, Roan tree, Roden-quicken, Roden-quicken-royan, Round wood, Round tree, Royne tree, Rune tree, Sorb apple, Thor's helper, Whispering tree, Whitty, Wicken-tree, Wiggin, Wiggy, Wiky, Witch wood, Witchbane, Witchen, Witchen Wittern tree. Many of these can be easily linked to the mythology and folklore surrounding the tree. In Gaelic, it is caorann, or rudha-an ("red one", pronounced similarly to English "rowan").[3]

Behind the scenes[]

  • European rowan has a long tradition in European mythology and folklore, and is said to be quite powerful in warding off evil and giving protection against malevolent beings. In Victorian folklore, rowan was believed to be have apotropaic powers, particularly in warding off witches. "Flying rowan", rowan grown as a epiphyte on another tree, was thought to have particularly potent powers against dark magic


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