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Bird Cherry

Updated: Feb 15, 2021

This weeks tree to identify is the Bird Cherry. It can be found in wet woodland and hedgerows as it seems to like to grow in cramped conditions. These photos of the Bird Cherry in our blog were taken on the banks of the White Cart river near Linn Park.

As you can see the beautifully scented blossom is currently on show, spring time is best for all blossom displays. The flowers are clustered along short stalks. Like wild cherry, the flowers provide an early source of nectar and pollen for bees. The cherries are eaten by birds, including the blackbird and song thrush, as well as mammals such as badger and wood mouse.

The leaves are oval and smooth except for the tufts of hair under the vein joints. Unlike wild cherry, the edges have fine, sharp serrations, with pointed tips. The leaves are eaten by caterpillars of many moth species, including the Bird Cherry Ermine Moth.

The Bird Cherry Ermine moth larvae creates web-like nests sometimes covering the whole tree. They feed on the leaves and grow very quickly into caterpillars which in turn pupate into the (really quite beautiful) Bird Cherry Ermine Moth. Keep your eyes peeled for these webs as it's incredible to see just how many caterpillars are inside them.

The bark of the bird cherry has the familiar stripes and papery thin features of all trees in the Cherry family. It's dark brown and has an acrid smell when cut. The smell is so strong it was believed to ward of the plague from a household if a branch was placed at the front door!

Good luck in finding a Bird Cherry and everything that lives in it!

Happy hunting :)



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