The Wild Cherry or Gean Tree (Prunus avium) is a very pretty native tree. It is well-suited to a large garden or part of a new native woodland planting.
Wild Cherry has smooth grey bark, which exhibits mahogany-red colouring, in time peeling and becoming deeply fissured.
It has attractive, white cup-shaped flowers in clusters along with leaves that appear in spring.
This tree is of primary importance as a key native species and will create an important food source for a number of avian species.
The leaves are 7 - 14 cm long and 4 - 7 cm broad, shiny green above, variably finely downy beneath, with a serrated edge. In autumn, the leaves turn orange, pink or red before falling.
On mature trees summer sees the production of masses of brilliantly coloured red-black coloured cherries. The jury is out on their edible qualities!
The fruit are readily eaten by numerous birds and mammals, which digest the fruit flesh and disperse the seeds in their droppings.
The tree exudes a gum from wounds in the bark, by which it seals the wounds to exclude insects and fungal infections.
Wild Cherries have been an item of human food for several thousands of years. The stones have been found in deposits at bronze age settlements throughout Europe, including in Britain.
By 800 BC, cherries were being deliberately cultivated in Turkey, and soon after in Greece.
As the ancestor of the cultivated sweet cherry, the Wild Cherry is one of the two cherry species which supply most of the world's commercial cultivars of edible cherry.
The hard, reddish-brown wood is valued as a hardwood for turnery, and making cabinets and musical instruments
The fruit can be cooked in pies etc or used to make preserves
The gum from bark wounds is aromatic and can be chewed as a substitute for chewing gum
Medicine can be prepared from the stalks of the drupes that is astringent, antitussive, and diuretic
A green dye can also be prepared from the plant
The fruit stalks are astringent and diuretic
Mythology and symbolism
In The Scottish Highlands folklore tells us that the wild cherry had mysterious qualities, and encountering one was considered auspicious and fateful.
DISCLAMER : Any uses for trees or tree extracts. whether edible or medicinal, have not been tried or tested by EFORESTS.CO.UK so please take caution and seek proper advice before attempting any recipes or medicinal extracts from any of the trees listed on our site.
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