Service tree grows on the edges of the forest and as solitary tree. In the past, during Roman empire, its fruits have been used for making alcoholic drinks. Today, service tree can be used for ornamental purposes, wood and fruit production. The fruits can be eaten when over-ripe, otherwise their taste is pungent. Some products obtained from service tree’s fruits: marmalades, jellies, fruit wine or other alcoholic drinks, juices and jams. In medicine the fruits are used against intestinal problems, diabetes, neurological diseases and cardiovascular disorders . The main use of this species is timber which has an excellent quality and reaches quite high prices. European canker of apple (Nectria galligen) and apple scab (Venturia inaequalis) can cause premature leaf fall.
Foto : Franco Rossi, http://www.actaplantarum.org/
Service tree is a deciduous tree, reaching 20 m in height. Leaves are imparipinnate with 13-21 leaflets. The color of the bark is dark with rectangular fissures. It flourishes from late April to mid-May. The fruits are edible, apple or pear-shaped, 2-3cm in diameter, and usually they contain 2-5 (up to 10) seeds. The regeneration rate from seeds is low, and the tree frequently regenerates by root sprouts. It often reaches 200 years of age, occasionally even more (up to 400).
Service tree is light demanding species and prefers moderately acid or neutral soils (pH 4,5 – 7,0). Although is resistant to -25, -30 °C, it prefers mild and warm climate. Minimum requirement of rainfall is 500 mm per year; Service tree is a weak competitor in relation to other species. Suitable species for agroforestry systems.
In Europe, service tree is very rare and its genetic diversity is threatened mainly due to the reduction in number of individuals and disturbance of the natural populations by human activities.
Price of the wood varies but highly valued timber, on auctions, can reach up to 10 000 EUR per cubic meter.
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