Wild Cherry Tree Information
Latin name: Prunus avium
Native words: Old Irish (Crann silín fiáin) Scots Gaelic () Old English () Welsh () eastern Celtic ()
Height when mature: 25m
Height after 10 years:
Wild Cherry botanical description:
Wild Cherry is one of the smaller native British trees and as it is tolerant of light shade, single trees are often found growing in broadleaved lowland woods In the spring wood one of the first signs of life is the white blossom of the wild Cherry, which seems like a snow drift, and clearly picks out the tree. The blossom hangs in heavy clusters The leaves which are bronze to begin with, are oval and toothed, and in autumn when they turn from green to deep red and cover the ground Its bark is dark brown with the appearance of horizontal scoring, which is actually series of breathing holes called lenticels, and peels off in large strips The fruit known as cherries - are round and are initially yellow-orange in colour before turning to crimson in July. They are edible but are often bitter to taste and not as fleshy or sweet as orchard varieties. Wild Cherries can seed from the stones after birds have eaten them, but new trees often develop from suckers spreading from nearby relatives.
Wild Cherry natural history and ancient wisdom:
Often found growing in the understorey of woods wild cherries sometimes appear in hedgerows where birds have dropped the seed. The wood is often used as a veneer on pieces of furniture.
Wild Cherry wildlife rating:
The fruit is sought out by thrushes and Blackbirds, as well as small mammals which will feed on fallen cherries. The first emerging insects of the year will feed on the nectar of the flowers.
Wild Cherry good points/ bad points:
Looks great in a spring garden, or planted singly in a woodland. All cherries are prone to blackfly which feed on the leaves making some of them curl up and wither, but the tree survives. The tree is not tolerant of waterlogged soil or heavy shade; strong winds will knock off the flowers, so don’t plant it in an exposed position. The wild cherry is much better for wildlife than the double bloomed cultivated varieties; insects cannot get at the nectar sources.