Open the Advanced Search

Bird Cherry

Prunus padus

Please keep in mind that it is illegal to uproot a plant without the landowner's consent and care should be taken at all times not to damage wild plants. Wild plants should never be picked for pleasure and some plants are protected by law.
For more information please download the BSBI Code of Conduct PDF document.


Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Rosaceae (Rose)
Also in this family:
Acute Leaf-lobed Lady's-mantle, Alpine Cinquefoil, Alpine Lady's-mantle, Ampfield Cotoneaster, Arran Service Tree, Arran Whitebeam, Barren Strawberry, Bastard Agrimony, Bastard Service Tree, Bearberry Cotoneaster, Blackthorn, Bloody Whitebeam, Bramble, Bristol Whitebeam, Broad-leaved Whitebeam, Broadtooth Lady's-mantle, Bronze Pirri-pirri-bur, Bullace Plum, Bullate Cotoneaster, Burnet Rose, Catacol Whitebeam, Caucasian Lady's-mantle, Cheddar Whitebeam, Cherry Laurel, Cherry Plum, Chinese Photinia, Cloudberry, Clustered Lady's-mantle, Common Agrimony, Common Hawthorn, Common Lady's-mantle, Common Medlar, Common Ninebark, Common Whitebeam, Crab Apple, Creeping Chinese Bramble, Creeping Cinquefoil, Crimean Lady's-mantle, Cultivated Apple, Cultivated Pear, Cut-leaved Blackberry, Damson, Devon Whitebeam, Dewberry, Diel's Cotoneaster, Dog Rose, Doward Whitebeam, Dropwort, Elm-leaved Bramble, English Whitebeam, Entire-leaved Cotoneaster, False Salmonberry, Field Rose, Firethorn, Fodder Burnet, Fragrant Agrimony, Franchet's Cotoneaster, Garden Lady's-mantle, Garden Strawberry, Giant Meadowsweet, Glaucous Dog Rose, Goatsbeard Spiraea, Gough's Rock Whitebeam, Great Burnet, Greengage Plum, Grey-leaved Whitebeam, Hairless Lady's-mantle, Hairy Lady's-mantle, Hautbois Strawberry, Himalayan Blackberry, Himalayan Cotoneaster, Himalayan Whitebeam, Hoary Cinquefoil, Hollyberry Cotoneaster, Hupeh Rowan, Hybrid Cinquefoil, Hybrid Geum, Irish Whitebeam, Japanese Cherry, Japanese Quince, Japanese Rose, Jew's Mallow, Juneberry, Lancaster Whitebeam, Late Cotoneaster, Least Lady's-mantle, Least Whitebeam, Leigh Woods Whitebeam, Ley's Whitebeam, Liljefor's Whitebeam, Littleleaf Cotoneaster, Llangollen Whitebeam, Llanthony Whitebeam, Lleyn Cotoneaster, Loganberry, Many-flowered Rose, Margaret's Whitebeam, Marsh Cinquefoil, Meadowsweet, Midland Hawthorn, Mougeot's Whitebeam, Mountain Ash, Mountain Avens, Mountain Sibbaldia, Moupin's Cotoneaster, No Parking Whitebeam, Ocean Spray, Orange Whitebeam, Pale Bridewort, Pale Lady's-mantle, Parsley Piert, Pirri-pirri-bur, Plymouth Pear, Portuguese Laurel, Purple-flowered Raspberry, Quince, Raspberry, Rock Cinquefoil, Rock Lady's-mantle, Rock Whitebeam, Round-leaved Dog Rose, Round-leaved Whitebeam, Rum Cherry, Russian Cinquefoil, Salad Burnet, Sargent's Rowan, Scannell's Whitebeam, Service Tree, Sharp-toothed Whitebeam, Sherard's Downy Rose, Shining Lady's-mantle, Ship Rock Whitebeam, Short-styled Rose, Shrubby Cinquefoil, Silver Lady's-mantle, Silverweed, Slender Parsley Piert, Slender-spined Bramble, Small-flowered Sweetbriar, Small-leaved Sweetbriar, Soft Downy Rose, Somerset Whitebeam, Sorbaria, Sour Cherry, Southern Downy Rose, Southern Lady's-mantle, Spineless Acaena, Spring Cinquefoil, St. Lucie's Cherry, Steeplebush, Stern's Cotoneaster, Stirton's Whitebeam, Stone Bramble, Sulphur Cinquefoil, Swedish Service Tree, Swedish Whitebeam, Sweet Briar, Symond's Yat Whitebeam, Tengyueh Cotoneaster, Thimbleberry, Thin-leaved Whitebeam, Tibetan Cotoneaster, Tormentil, Trailing Tormentil, Tree Cotoneaster, Trefoil Cinquefoil, Twin-cliffs Whitebeam, Two-spined Acaena, Wall Cotoneaster, Water Avens, Waterer's Cotoneaster, Waxy Lady's-mantle, Welsh Cotoneaster, Welsh Whitebeam, White Burnet, White's Whitebeam, White-stemmed Bramble, Wild Cherry, Wild Pear, Wild Plum, Wild Service Tree, Wild Strawberry, Willmott's Whitebeam, Willow-leaved Bridewort, Willow-leaved Cotoneaster, Wineberry, Wood Avens, Wye Whitebeam, Yellow-flowered Strawberry
Deciduous tree
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
30 metres tall
Gardens, parks, roadsides, scrub, woodland.

White, 5 petals
Flowers very different than Wild Cherry. Cream-white, 5 petals, up to 1.5cm.
Very dark red cherries appear on some trees during autumn in the UK.
Deciduous tree. The oval and hairless, pointed leaves have serrated margins. Bird Cherry can be distinguished from Wild Cherry by the fine, sharp serrations on its leaf margins and the 2 nectar glands situated on the leaf stalks at the bases of the leaves.
Flowers very fragrant, smelling of almonds.
Other Names:
Black Dogwood, Common Bird Cherry, Eggberry, European Bird Cherry, Hackberry, Hagberry, Heckberry, Hedgeberry, Hog Cherry, Mayday tree.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Prunus padus, also known as bird cherry or hackberry, is a species of flowering plant in the rose family. It is native to Europe and Asia and is widely cultivated as an ornamental plant and for its edible fruit. The plant is known for its small, white flowers and dark, glossy leaves. It grows well in a variety of habitats, including forests, gardens, and along roadsides. Prunus padus is a deciduous tree that can grow up to 15 meters in height. It is commonly cultivated for its attractive flowers and edible fruit, which are small and sweet in flavor. The tree is also used in traditional medicine to treat a variety of ailments.


Bird cherry (Prunus padus) is a species of cherry tree that is native to Europe and Asia. It is also known by several other common names including: hackberry, European bird cherry, and wild cherry.

The bird cherry is a deciduous tree that can reach heights of up to 30 meters. It is distinguishable by its white or pale pink flowers that bloom in clusters in early spring. These flowers are followed by small black fruits in the summer, which are enjoyed by birds and other wildlife.

The bird cherry's wood is tough and durable, and is often used for furniture, flooring, and even shipbuilding. Its bark has been used for medicinal purposes in some cultures, including the treatment of headaches and other ailments.

In addition to its practical uses, the bird cherry is also a popular ornamental tree. Its delicate flowers and striking bark make it a beautiful addition to gardens and parks. It is also commonly planted as a hedge or screen.

Despite its many benefits, the bird cherry does have some potential downsides. Its fruit can be messy and attract wildlife to your yard, and its branches can be brittle and prone to breaking. It also requires a lot of sun and well-drained soil to thrive.

Overall, the bird cherry is a beautiful and versatile tree that is well-worth considering for your yard or garden. Whether you are looking for a stunning ornamental tree, a source of wood, or a way to attract wildlife, the bird cherry is an excellent choice.

Another notable feature of the bird cherry is its hardiness. This tree can withstand cold temperatures and is capable of growing in a wide range of soil types, making it a good choice for gardeners in many different climates.

One of the best ways to enjoy the beauty of the bird cherry is to visit a park or natural area where they are growing. During the spring, the clusters of delicate white or pale pink flowers are a true sight to behold, and in the summer, the fruit provides a food source for wildlife.

In addition to its ornamental and practical uses, the bird cherry also has cultural significance in many parts of Europe. In Finland, for example, it is considered a symbol of spring and new beginnings, and is often used in traditional May Day celebrations.

When planting a bird cherry in your own yard, it's important to consider its mature size and to provide adequate space for its roots. This tree can grow quite tall, so it's important to plan accordingly.

The bird cherry is a versatile, beautiful, and hardy tree that has a lot to offer. Whether you are looking for a stunning ornamental tree, a source of wood, or a way to attract wildlife, this species is definitely worth considering.

Another benefit of planting a bird cherry is that it is relatively low maintenance. Unlike some other ornamental trees, it does not require regular pruning or training. In addition, it is relatively disease- and pest-resistant, making it a good choice for gardeners who want a beautiful tree without having to invest a lot of time and effort in maintenance.

Despite its many benefits, there are a few potential problems to be aware of when planting a bird cherry. For example, the tree is allelopathic, meaning that it can produce chemicals that inhibit the growth of other plants. This means that it may not be the best choice if you have other sensitive plants growing nearby.

In addition, the bird cherry is prone to suckering, which means that it can produce shoots from its roots. This can lead to the formation of dense thickets if not properly managed. Regular removal of suckers can help prevent this problem.

Finally, it's worth noting that the bird cherry is a host to the caterpillar of the goosefoot brocade moth. This caterpillar is considered a pest in some areas and can cause significant damage to the tree's foliage. However, this problem is relatively uncommon and can be easily managed with proper tree care and monitoring.

The bird cherry is a beautiful, versatile, and low-maintenance tree that has a lot to offer. If you are looking for a tree that is easy to care for and provides a variety of benefits, this species is definitely worth considering. Just be sure to consider the potential problems and choose a location that is well-suited for its needs.

In terms of its ecological value, the bird cherry is an important species for many different species of wildlife. As mentioned earlier, its fruit is a valuable food source for birds, but it is also an important source of food and shelter for other wildlife, including insects, mammals, and even some species of bats.

The bird cherry is also a popular food source for people in some parts of the world. In Russia, for example, the fruit is used to make a popular liqueur known as "Sirenevaya Voda". The fruit can also be used to make jam, jelly, and other sweet treats.

In terms of its cultural significance, the bird cherry has been revered for thousands of years. In ancient cultures, it was often associated with spring, renewal, and the arrival of new life. Today, it is still a popular symbol of spring in many parts of the world, and is often featured in traditional springtime festivals and celebrations.

The bird cherry is a valuable and versatile species with a lot to offer. Whether you are looking for an ornamental tree, a source of food, or a way to support local wildlife, this species is definitely worth considering. Just be sure to research its specific needs and choose a location that is well-suited for its growth and development.

When planting a bird cherry tree, it is important to choose a location that has well-draining soil and receives full sun. The tree is relatively adaptable and can grow in a variety of soils, but it prefers soil that is moist but well-drained.

When planting a bird cherry, it is important to water the tree regularly until it becomes established. This can help ensure that the tree develops a strong root system and is able to survive in its new location.

In terms of care, the bird cherry is a low-maintenance tree that does not require regular pruning or training. However, it is a good idea to remove any dead, diseased, or damaged wood from the tree as needed, to help maintain its health and vigor.

One of the most important things to remember when planting a bird cherry is that it can grow quite tall. When planting, be sure to provide adequate space for the tree to grow and spread its branches, and avoid planting it too close to buildings or other structures.

In conclusion, the bird cherry is a beautiful and versatile tree that is well worth considering if you are looking to add a new tree to your landscape. With its hardy nature, low-maintenance needs, and attractive flowers and fruit, this tree has a lot to offer. Just be sure to choose a location that is well-suited to its needs, and provide adequate space and care to ensure that it thrives.


Bird Cherry filmed in Adlington, Lancashire on the 15th April 2023.


Please remember to Like and Subscribe to the WildFlowerWeb YouTube channel at

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

Click to open an Interactive Map