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Wild Cherry

Prunus avium

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, Bird Cherry, 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 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, towns, woodland.

White, 5 petals
White, sometimes tinged green, 5 petals and red anthers. Flowers are bunched together.
Numerous small red cherries on long stalks, turning black later.
Deciduous. Oval, pointed, dark green leaves with serrated, or sometimes double serrated leaf margins. The leaf stalks are long and individual leaves can grow up to 12cm long. The leaves in autumn turn yellow, orange and red.
Flowers are strongly-scented.
Other Names:
Bird Cherry, Cheshire Merry Tree, Crab Cherry, Gean, Hagberry, Mazzard, Suffolk Merries, Sweet Cherry.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Prunus avium, also known as sweet cherry or wild cherry, is a species of flowering plant in the rose family. It is native to Europe and Asia and is widely cultivated 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 gardens, orchards, and along roadsides. Prunus avium is a deciduous tree that can grow up to 15 meters in height. It is commonly cultivated for its edible fruit, which are small and sweet in flavor. The tree is also used in traditional medicine to treat a variety of ailments.


Wild cherry, also known as sweet cherry or Prunus avium, is a deciduous tree that is native to Europe, Asia and North Africa. This tree is commonly grown for its juicy, sweet fruit that is used in a variety of culinary applications, including baking, cooking and preserving. In addition to its delicious fruit, wild cherry is also prized for its attractive appearance, making it a popular choice for landscaping and ornamental purposes.

The wild cherry tree is a large, spreading tree that can reach up to 30 meters in height. It has a broad, spreading canopy of leaves and clusters of small, white or pale pink flowers that bloom in the spring. The fruit of the wild cherry tree is a small, round cherry that is typically red or black in color, depending on the variety. The fruit is juicy and sweet, with a rich flavor that is often described as tart or tangy.

In addition to its culinary uses, wild cherry has a long history of use in traditional medicine. The bark of the tree was used by indigenous peoples to treat a variety of ailments, including coughs, digestive problems and skin conditions. Today, wild cherry is still used for its medicinal properties, including its ability to soothe the respiratory system, reduce inflammation and boost the immune system.

Cultivating wild cherry is relatively easy, as the tree is hardy and adaptable to a variety of growing conditions. It prefers full sun and well-drained soil, and can be grown in a range of soil types, including clay, sand and loam. Wild cherry is also relatively low-maintenance, with only minimal pruning required to maintain its shape and size.

Whether you're growing wild cherry for its delicious fruit or its ornamental beauty, this tree is a great addition to any yard or garden. With its attractive appearance, sweet fruit and versatile uses, wild cherry is a must-have for any gardener or fruit lover.

The wood of the wild cherry tree is also highly prized for its beauty and durability. The wood is light in color, with a reddish or pinkish hue, and has a fine, even grain that makes it ideal for use in furniture, cabinetry, and flooring. In addition, the wood is resistant to decay and insects, making it a popular choice for outdoor structures, such as decks and fencing.

In addition to its ornamental and practical uses, the wild cherry tree is also an important food source for wildlife. Birds, squirrels and other wildlife love to feast on the sweet fruit of the tree, and the leaves and twigs of the tree provide a valuable source of food and shelter for many species.

In Europe, the wild cherry tree is often associated with myth and folklore. In ancient Greece, the tree was thought to have magical properties and was believed to bring good luck and prosperity to those who planted it. In medieval Europe, the tree was sometimes called the “Queen of the Forest”, and was said to be protected by the spirits of the forest.

Today, the wild cherry tree is widely cultivated in Europe, North America and around the world. Whether grown for its delicious fruit, its beautiful wood or its ornamental beauty, this tree is a versatile and valuable addition to any landscape.

In addition to its culinary and ornamental uses, the wild cherry tree is also an important component of many ecosystems. The tree provides habitat and food for a variety of wildlife species, and its leaves and fallen fruit provide valuable organic matter that helps to build soil fertility. Wild cherry is also an important host plant for many butterfly and moth species, and the flowers provide an important source of nectar for pollinators like bees and butterflies.

Another important aspect of wild cherry is its cultural significance. In many cultures, wild cherry is associated with spring and new beginnings, and the arrival of the cherry blossoms is a much-anticipated event. For example, in Japan, the cherry blossom season is celebrated with traditional festivals, picnics, and parades, and the delicate pink and white flowers are a symbol of renewal and hope.

Overall, wild cherry is a tree with many qualities that make it a valuable and beloved component of the natural world. Whether enjoyed for its sweet fruit, its beautiful wood, or its cultural significance, this tree is sure to bring joy and beauty to any landscape.

It's also worth mentioning that wild cherry is considered an invasive species in some areas. This is due to its ability to rapidly spread and displace native plant species, leading to ecological imbalances in certain habitats. If you are considering planting wild cherry, it's important to research the local regulations and to ensure that you are planting the right species for your area. In some cases, there may be alternative species that are more suitable for your location.

Despite its potential invasive nature, wild cherry is still widely cultivated for its ornamental and edible qualities. There are many different cultivars and varieties of wild cherry, each with its own unique traits, from the size and shape of the tree to the color and flavor of the fruit. When selecting a wild cherry tree for your yard, it's important to consider your specific needs and preferences, as well as the growing conditions in your area.

Wild cherry is a versatile and valuable tree with a rich history and cultural significance. Whether enjoyed for its delicious fruit, its beautiful wood, or its ornamental beauty, this tree is sure to bring joy and beauty to any landscape. If you are considering planting a wild cherry tree, be sure to research the local regulations and to choose the right species and variety for your location. With its many amazing qualities, wild cherry is a tree that is sure to provide years of enjoyment and beauty.

It's also worth mentioning that wild cherry has been used in traditional medicine for centuries. The bark and leaves of the tree contain compounds that have been shown to have various medicinal properties, such as pain relief, anti-inflammatory effects, and anti-tumor properties. In traditional medicine, wild cherry bark has been used to treat a variety of ailments, including coughs, colds, and respiratory problems.

In modern times, research has confirmed some of the medicinal properties of wild cherry, and scientists are exploring the potential therapeutic applications of the compounds found in the tree. For example, some studies have shown that compounds found in wild cherry bark may have potential as a natural remedy for treating respiratory problems and reducing inflammation.

Aside from its medicinal uses, wild cherry is also an important source of food and nourishment for both people and wildlife. The sweet and juicy fruit of the tree is highly prized for its flavor, and it can be eaten fresh or used in cooking and baking. In addition, the leaves, bark, and wood of the tree have a variety of uses, from flavoring teas to smoking meats.

In conclusion, wild cherry is a tree with many fascinating qualities and uses, from its ornamental beauty and delicious fruit, to its cultural significance, medicinal properties, and ecological importance. If you are interested in learning more about wild cherry, or if you are considering planting a tree in your yard, be sure to research the many amazing benefits and uses of this remarkable species.


Wild Cherry filmed at Haigh Hall, Wigan, Lancashire on the 27th April 2023.


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Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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