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PRUNUS padus

Image of Prunus padus

Family

Rosaceae

Botanical Name

PRUNUS padus

Plant Common Name

Bird Cherry

General Description

This small, round-crowned, deciduous tree from Europe and northern Asia has long been cultivated for its handsome foliage, fragrant white flowers, and bird-attracting fruit. It is closely related to the American Prunus virginiana.

The spreading to ascending branches of this hardy tree are furnished with elliptical, medium-green leaves which flush bright green in early spring and turn yellow in fall. The leaves have finely toothed margins and short-pointed tips. Long, drooping clusters of small, almond-scented, pure white flowers appear in early to mid-spring, after the leaves emerge. Small, purple-black, bitter-tasting cherries ripen in summer. Birds eat the fruits, thus dispersing the seeds. .

This fast-growing tree prospers in average, well-drained soil in full sun. Its bitter cherries can be used in mixed jellies or for wine-making. The fruit drop can be messy, so consider placement of this tree away from parking areas, park benches or playground areas.

Cultivars of bird cherry include numerous purple-leaved varieties (such as 'Colorata' and 'Berg'); the double-flowered 'Plena', and several showy-flowered forms (including 'Albertii' and 'Dropmore'). This species is susceptible to black knot fungus, which causes disfiguring branch galls.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    8 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    3 - 8

  • Sunset Zone

    A1, A2, A3, 1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 10

  • Plant Type

    Tree

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    20'-50' / 6.1m - 15.2m

  • Width

    20'-30' / 6.1m - 9.1m

  • Bloom Time

    Spring

  • Native To

    Europe, Russia/Siberia, Asia, Central Asia, China, Japan, Korea

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Average

  • Soil type

    Clay, Loam

  • Growth Rate

    Fast

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Oval/Rounded

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    White

  • Fruit Color

    Purple, Black

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Light Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green

  • Bark Color

    Brown

  • Fragrant Flowers

    Yes

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Foliage Texture

    Medium

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Screening / Wind Break

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    Sometimes

  • Attracts

    Birds

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes