A small native deciduous tree, native to much of the UK and parts of Europe. During the Middle Ages, it was believed that if branches of the Bird Cherry were placed near the front door of a house they would ward off the dreaded Black Plague.
Other than being a native tree growing in the wild it is also highly prized as a landscape tree. In May, small white almond scented flowers appear which are an excellent source of nectar and always attract bees, song birds and butterflies to the garden. The Bird Cherry tree is a hermaphrodite and contains both male and female flower parts so is self-fertile.
After flowering, small black berries appear which are shiny and black. They each contain one large seed which birds especially adore. Woodland creatures such as the badger, wood mouse, yellow-necked mouse, and dormouse also relish the sour berries. Although far too bitter for humans to eat, for centuries, the berries have been used to make liqueur, flavour wines and dye wool.
During the autumn, the foliage turns brilliant shades of red and orange before falling from the tree. The dark fruits often persist on the tree after the foliage is gone if they haven’t been eaten.
This tree is extremely hardy and will grow in virtually any soil type. For optimum growth, it should be planted in well-draining moisture-retentive loamy soil. Once planted, the tree needs to be kept moderately moist to encourage ample root growth. Even after the tree is established, it still does not handle drought well and prefers evenly moist well-draining soil. It can withstand occasional flooding so is ideal to plant along a river or stream.
Thrives best in full sun for optimum flower and fruit production, but does not like windy areas and should have some wind protection to keep its branches from breaking. It is known to thrive in Northern Britain including Scotland.
Height 15m x Spread 3m