Prunus Padus, or Bird Cherry is a genus of deciduous trees and shrubs suited to garden hedging and natural hedgerow setting. It is a popular choice for an ornamental tree and provides glorious flowers, fruits and autumn colour foliage.
The flowers arrive in late spring on slender racemes and provide an early source of nectar and pollen to bees. The white, five petaled flowers are pleasantly fragrant, commonly described as almond scented. Bird Cherry flowers are hermaphrodite which means the male and female reproductive parts are on the same flower. The black cherries are only eaten by birds (hence the common name!) and small mammals. Blackbirds and song thrushes are known to eat the sour fruits and small mammals such as the dormouse and woodmouse will eat them once they have fallen to the ground. the leaves are toxic to livestock so should not be planted where they can reach them.
In Yorkshire, Prunus Padus is commonly known as Wild Lilac due to the spikes of white flowers. The flowers signify the start of summer in Finland and Sweden as they normally come into bloom in the last two weeks of May or early June.
Bird Cherry is native to the UK and Europe. View Best4Hedging's full range of native hedge plants. It can grow at altitudes of up to 600m in the UK but will not reach such heights in Scotland due to the harsher conditions. It is commonly found in damp sites, along with Alder (Alnus) or with other Natives like Birch (Betula) and Rowan (Sorbus). See our range of hedge plants suited to wet planting sites.