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Beautiful blossom and a bounty of bright red fruits. Wild cherry with its (beautiful) stunning blossom and boughs of deep red berries is regarded as one of Britain’s prettiest native trees, loved in equal measure by both gardeners and wildlife.
Mature trees can grow to 30m and live for up to 60 years. The shiny bark is a deep reddish-brown with prominent cream-coloured horizontal lines called lenticels. The second part of its botanical name – avium – refers to birds which play a role in the tree’s propagation by eating the cherries and dispersing the seed.
In Highland folklore, wild cherry had mysterious qualities, and to encounter one was considered auspicious and fateful. Traditionally, cherries were planted for their fruit and also their hard, honey-coloured wood which was used for making cask hoops and vine poles. The sticky resin was thought to promote a good complexion and eyesight, and help to cure coughs.