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wild cherry

The distinctive wild cherry is a fast growing deciduous native to Scotland, found in mixed and beech woodlands throughout the country. It’s also known as ‘gean’ and its botanical name is Prunus avium.

botanical drawings of wild cherry tree

Facts and stats

  • Uses: The wild cherry is often used as rootstock for more productive fruit bearing varieties. Its pinkish-brown wood is used to make fine furniture, musical instruments, veneers, smoking pipes and is prized for turned items such as bowls.
  • Flowers: Its flowers can appear before the leaves and produce an almond-like scent.
  • Fruit: Scented white flowers are followed by small green cherries, which turn red then purple when ripe. Birds quickly strip the fruit and spread the seeds by dropping or swallowing them.
  • Bark: The wild cherry has smooth purplish-brown bark with metallic lustre and horizontal bands of lenticels.
  • Height: Can grow up to 24 metres tall with spreading lower branches and the rest pointing up.
  • Supporting insect species: 63
  • Lifespan: 250 years
  • Natural range: Europe, North Africa & West Asia