Prunus padus - bird cherry

Of the native flowering woody species the bird cherry has perhaps been blessed with the greatest abundance of blossom, and grows throughout the country. It is an intrinsic part of the Finnish landscape: among piles of stones cleared from fields, near wells and springs. If you close your eyes and imagine a Finnish landscape on a spring morning as coolness gives way to warmth, you can almost smell the scent of the flowering bird cherry. The tree is in full leaf before flowering begins, and the growth rate at its maximum, soon to be over.

The bird cherry suckers from its roots, and is characteristically bent into an arch by the snow, with vertical shoots growing in line from adventitious buds on the bow-shaped stems. Another of its strategies for spreading is that any branches in contact with the ground tend to root and produce new trees. Not to mention the way birds spread the seed to new sites.

The bird cherry has long clusters of small flowers, which later develop into black berries. Their bitter taste comes from the seed, which contains very small amounts of amygdalin, which also occurs in higher concentrations in the bark and the wood, which smell unpleasant. Outside the growing season, branches cut from the tree can be used to keep hares from eating the bark of other trees, such as apples.


Lehtipuut ja -pensaat