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botanical drawings of wild cherry tree

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.

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