This species has stiff branches and an airy crown, its large flower corymbs and leaves giving it an almost tropical look. It bursts into growth early in spring – when other trees are still dormant this mountain ash’s sticky buds open; the emerald pencil-thick twigs and large leaves are soon on full summer display, despite late spring frosts.
‘Dodong’ flowers in June, somewhat later than the European species S. aucuparia. The white flower corymbs are especially large. The resulting big berries are slightly drop-shaped, orange-red, and in large bunches. On sunny sites, the large leaves take on brilliant orange-red autumn coloration.
The species originates from Ullung Island in the Sea of Japan, about 120 kms from the Korean coast, where there are dozens of unique plants as a result of its isolated position and its freedom from glaciation during the last ice age.
’Dodong’ seed was collected by the Swedish botanist Tor Nitzelius in 1976. One of the seedlings from this collection was selected and has been vegetatively propagated, quickly becoming an established garden favourite.
’Dodong’ came to Mustila in 1992 as a 90th anniversary gift from Sweden, probably the first of its kind in Finland. It is growing on Etelärinne, or Southern slope. It was attacked by hares immediately after planting, but saved by Axel Tigerstedt’s prompt treatment of the damaged bark with wax. Shaded by other trees, it has not achieved its full glory. In addition to this single specimen, Mustila also has young plants growing from seed collected from a stand growing in Gothenburg.