Definition of rowan in English:


(also rowan tree)

Pronunciation: /ˈrəʊən//ˈraʊən/


  • 1A small deciduous tree of the rose family, with compound leaves, white flowers, and red berries.

    Compare with mountain ash
    • ‘The wood of oak, hazel, rowan, alder, willow, juniper, ash, bird cherry and aspen will take shape on the shores of Loch Katrine over the next 20 years using thousands of acres of land leased to the Forestry Commission.’
    • ‘Virginia insists that she is not superstitious, but she says that she had to have a rowan by the gate.’
    • ‘The rowan tree, or mountain ash as it is better known, is now in full bloom.’
    • ‘It's hard to think of autumn and winter berries without thinking of the mountain ash, or rowan tree.’
    • ‘The birds still have plenty of places to perch - there's a rowan tree we planted a couple of years ago nearby which is getting large enough for the smaller birds to start using it.’
    • ‘Half of the field will be planted with native ash, along with cherry, rowan and hazel trees, sessile oaks and downy birches.’
    • ‘About a third of the total area will be set aside for natural regeneration of broadleaf trees such as oak, rowan and birch.’
    • ‘The National Trust was awarded £39,000 from the Forestry Commission to rebuild the wall and to plant 5,000 new trees, including oak, ash, rowan and hazel.’
    • ‘Outside the kitchen window is a rowan tree I planted about ten years ago.’
    • ‘The children in first and second class also put the school grounds to great use, where the birch, maple and rowan trees were the subjects of their investigations.’
    • ‘Lois, a sculpture graduate from Aberdeen, takes her inspiration from a single object - a rowan tree in the garden of her neighbour's house.’
    • ‘Head teacher Ruth Matthews said the five field maple and five rowan trees were chosen to provide colourful leaves and berries for the wildlife.’
    • ‘It also makes sense, if you are planting new trees, to grow small trees like rowan, magnolia or cherry close to the house, saving large trees like oak, beech and lime for further away.’
    • ‘‘If the rowans are full, it will be a bad winter,’ say the locals in my part of the world.’
    • ‘I stopped beside a tumbling waterfall and enjoyed a late lunch below a rowan tree, its bright red berries outliving the crumpled yellow leaves.’
    • ‘Most wonderful of all, there are two brand new invasions of mistletoe in the rowan tree that overhangs the patio.’
    • ‘Back on the winding road to Lancaster, the way is lined with purple heather and bracken, rowan trees and bushes full of blueberries.’
    • ‘Two other members of the apple family are the whitebeam and the rowan.’
    • ‘Turning, she saw a middle aged man leaning against a rowan tree.’
    • ‘The wood has been planted with more than 400 oak, rowan and birch trees bought in memory of loved ones or to commemorate a special occasion.’
    1. 1.1 The scarlet berry of the rowan tree.
      • ‘S. aucuparia, the rowan or mountain ash, owes its specific name to the practice of bird-catchers in Germany and elsewhere who would trap small birds in hair nooses baited with rowan berries.’
      • ‘Crab apples were used, as were sloes, rose hips and rowan berries.’
      • ‘They also ate berries such as rowan and cloudberry, and hazelnuts.’
      • ‘Judging by the rowan berries out in crimson abundance, autumn is once more upon us.’
      • ‘I have this week watched starlings, jays and woodpigeons gorging themselves on rowan berries.’
      • ‘Eriksson and Nummi determined fairly low ethanol contents for rowan berries, rose-hips, and hawthorn fruits in autumn and winter conditions in Finland.’
      • ‘The first sign of autumn is the arrival of fieldfares and redwings coming back from their summer holidays in Scandinavia, pausing to pig out on rowan berries.’
      • ‘Add the rowan berries and the cloves and bring the liquid back to the boil.’
      • ‘Blackwell staff are also keen to encourage visually impaired visitors to discover many of the tactile features of Blackwell's home grown Arts and Crafts design - such as the carved oak panelling of rowan berries in the main hall.’
      • ‘Did you know that waxwings get drunk on rowan berries, and possess livers twice the size of other comparable birds to deal with these occasional binges?’
      • ‘The school grounds, which are according to Eanna ‘excellent - great for safe exploring and very well planted’, served up a wonderful array of elderberries, blackberries, privet berries, haws, rose hips and rowan berries.’


Late 15th century (originally Scots and northern English): of Scandinavian origin; compare with Norwegian rogn.