Wild cherry: Its importance and usage

A gorgeous tree from the Rosaceae family, the cherry is the only tree in its family to spread naturally in forests

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Peyrat de Bellac Forest
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Peyrat de Bellac Forest
Haute-Vienne, Center of France
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Age: 0 to 2 years old
Peyrat de Bellac Forest
Haute-Vienne, Center of France
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Nouïc Forest
Haute-Vienne, Center of France

Wild cherry

Prunus avium is also called the bird cherry because of its red fruits which turn black when ripe. The cherries feed the birds who incidentally disperse the seeds. Bird cherries are native to Europe, West Asia, and North Africa. They are also sometimes called cherry wood or wild cherry .
In Europe, bird cherries date back to the Neolithic period, as proven by archaeological discoveries. The flesh of the fruit is sugary, but can be bitter. Wild cherries were harvested throughout the Neolithic and Bronze Ages in Central Europe. From the 4th century BC, cherry trees have been cultivated for their fruit which is still used today to make kirsch. Plus, their flowers bear honey.

Why does EcoTree plant wild cherry?

EcoTree plants wild cherry trees for their important role in biodiversity of European forest ecosystems: their fruits feed many birds and their flowers offer nectar and pollen to bees in April and May. Their great biological potential means that cherry trees enhance the growth and upkeep of other species. What's more, they enrich the soil .

Wild cherry - Overview

Wild cherry - Overview

These fast-growing trees are medium-sized (10 to 25 metres) and can live for about 100 years. Their trunks are straight and cylindrical. Their bark is reddish-brown and smooth, with horizontal stripes. Their leaves are elliptical in shape with serrated edges and grow in an alternate pattern. They have two reddish glands on the petiole, at the base of the blade, which are characteristic of the species.

The white, pedunculated flowers are arranged in small, lateral clusters. They bloom in March and April, before foliage. Their pyramid-shaped canopies then feature regular, white flowers that bud fruit following cross-fertilisation by pollinating insects. Sweet cherries, specifically merises or guignes), are small, red, stone fruit that turn black as they ripen. They are edible and are used to make kirsch.
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Wild cherry

Wild cherry - Species requirements

Wild cherry trees do best when planted in deep, well-structured soil with a basic or slightly acidic pH and good water retention. They need more than 700 mm of water distributed evenly throughout the year. They resist the extreme cold (down to -30°C), which explains why they are found in low mountains and lowland forests. However, they don't like sudden temperature changes or sunburn. Cherry is not a pioneer species. They mix well with oak, ash, hornbeam and hazel when scattered or in clumps.

They are planted in autumn or winter, before the end of February when the buds begin to open.

Wild cherry

The wood from wild cherry trees has always been popular because of its fine, beautifully coloured grain which ranges from pinkish-yellow to pinkish-brown. It's been a favourite among cabinetmakers. In the last century, cherrywood furniture was very popular, but has gradually fallen out of fashion.

However, cherry wood has a longlasting quality. It's easy to work, polishes well, and bends well. In the past, it was used to make stair railings, pipe stoves, barrel hoops, ladder posts, and white wine barrels.

This species has also been bred specifically for their Guigniers and Bigarreautier cherries.

Symbolism of the wild cherry

In Japan, the Sakura flower (from a cherry tree) is a symbol of purity and abundance. At wedding ceremonies, tea is replaced by an infusion of cherry blossoms. You bestow eternal love on newlyweds by offering them a cherry tree, a symbol of abundance and of the purity of their feelings.

The tree will remind them of a wonderful day, its promises and the union it celebrates. An original wedding gift, it's material proof of commitment and an expression of fertility: the roots of love sink into the ground while the leaves give birth to pretty fruit.

Are you looking for an original gift that is ecological and sustainable? Give a cherry tree to celebrate love !

Give a tree, a gift with meaning!