Wild cherry

Prunus avium

ID check

  1. Flowers in clusters of 2–6, with hairless stalks all arising from a central point.
  2. Flowers cup-shaped, more than 20mm across on stalks more than 15mm long.
  3. Bud scales persisting at base of flower stalks.
  4. Leaves dull above, sparsely hairy beneath.
  5. Leaf margins with blunt or rounded teeth, often tipped with a claw-like gland.
  6. Leaf stalk hairless.
  7. Fruit more than 10mm long, on stalks 20mm or more long.

Description

Wild cherry tree

Wild cherry tree © Robert Vidéki, Doronicum Kft. Bugwood.org

Tree

Up to 25m tall.

Bark

Greyish.

Leaves

Margins double-toothed, the teeth ending with a purple gland, hairy at least on the veins beneath; leaf stalk with several wart-like red glands near the junction with the blade.

Bud scales

Large brown bud scales at the base of each flower cluster.

Flowers

Fully-open flowers are 25–35mm across, shallowly cup-shaped, white, and in some cultivars double. The sepals form an urn-shaped tube constricted just below the mouth.

Ripe fruit

10-20mm long, blackish or yellowish-red, sweet or sour-tasting.

Notes

The wild cherry is a common woodland tree but is also often planted. The fruit is edible. The cultivated sweet or dessert cherries are derived from wild cherry.

Images

Wild cherry fruit

Wild cherry fruit.

© Bob Press
Wild cherry flowers

Wild cherry flowers.

© Bob Press
Wild cherry stalk with red glands

Wild cherry stalk with red glands.

© André Abrahami, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic
Wild cherry flowers

Wild cherry flowers.

© Böhringer Friedrich, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic

Diagrams

These explain some of the important tree and plant parts mentioned on these factsheets.

Flower

Diagram of a flower showing the stigma, stamen, style, petal and sepal

Leaf parts

Diagram of a leaf showing the apex, margin, midrib, vein and stalk