Wild Cherry is a native, deciduous cherry species. It is a very attractive tree, often seen in gardens and hedgerows around the UK. It can grow to 30 metres in height, and live for 60 years.
The white flowers bloom early in the spring, at the same time as the new leaves unfurl. The leaves are the main food source for various moth caterpillars. The flowers are attractive to bees, which pollinate them. The fruits are bright red and then turn progressively darker. When mature, in mid-summer, the cherries are dark purple and make a good food-source for larger birds and small mammals. These creatures digest the flesh of the fruit, and the stones then become dispersed in their droppings. This is a fantastic way to kick-start regeneration of woodland! Some rodents, and a few birds, can crack open the stones to eat the nutritious kernel inside. This explains why you will sometimes see open, empty cherry stones in our woodland.
In autumn, Wild Cherry leaves are particularly beautiful, turning shades of orange, red or pink before they fall.
It is known that humans have eaten Wild Cherries for several thousands of years. Cherry stones have been found in bronze age settlements all over Britain.
Cherry timber is considered to be very attractive, and is still used for furniture and veneers. The wood burns well with a sweet smelling smoke.