Bird Cherry (Prunus padus)

Common names:
Give a thumbs up Bird Cherry
Give a thumbs up Hackberry
Give a thumbs up Hagberry
Give a thumbs up Mayday Tree

General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Tree
Life cycle: Perennial
Sun Requirements: Full Sun
Full Sun to Partial Shade
Water Preferences: Mesic
Soil pH Preferences: Slightly acid (6.1 – 6.5)
Neutral (6.6 – 7.3)
Slightly alkaline (7.4 – 7.8)
Minimum cold hardiness: Zone 4a -34.4 °C (-30 °F) to -31.7 °C (-25 °F)
Maximum recommended zone: Zone 8b
Plant Height: 20 - 40 feet
Plant Spread: 20 - 40 feet
Leaves: Deciduous
Fruit: Showy
Edible to birds
Other: Tiny, pea sized black cherries. Fruit is extremely bitter to human taste but a popular food source for birds.
Fruiting Time: Summer
Flowers: Showy
Flower Color: White
Bloom Size: Under 1"
Flower Time: Spring
Late spring or early summer
Suitable Locations: Street Tree
Uses: Shade Tree
Flowering Tree
Useful for timber production
Wildlife Attractant: Bees
Toxicity: Leaves are poisonous
Fruit is poisonous
Other: Stems
Propagation: Seeds: Stratify seeds: Seed requires 2 to 3 months cold stratification before sowing.
Days to germinate: May take up to 18 months to germinate.
Propagation: Other methods: Cuttings: Stem
Other: Suckers
Pollinators: Flies
Miscellaneous: Monoecious

flowers on a branch

Honey Bees in the Garden:  MayHoney Bees in the Garden: May
By Mindy03 on May 5, 2011

May is a month that showcases flowers for special days. Flowers for May Day, flowers for Mother's Day, flowers for Memorial Day and flowers for the honey bees.

(Full article10 comments)
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Photo gallery:

Posted by Mindy03 (Delta KY) on Apr 16, 2012 12:17 PM

Valuable source of nectar and pollen for honey bees.

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Posted by ILPARW (southeast Pennsylvania - Zone 6b) on Apr 12, 2019 7:32 PM

I've only seen this Common or European Birdcherry in one planting, and that was on the hospital grounds where I used to work in the west suburbs of Chicago, IL. About 10 trees were planted around the employee parking garage. Most were in part-shade and developed a bad case of Black Knot Disease of long, black growths along the twigs and younger branches. The ones in full sun were not as bad. The leaves of this species are 2.5 to 5 inches long by 1.2 to 2 inches wide. The fragrant flowers are in 3 to 6 inch long raceme clusters from mid-April to early May. The fruit is a 1/4 to 1/3 inch diameter cherry in July and August. It is sort of like a smaller American Wild Black Cherry. It is native to Europe and northern Asia into Japan. It has infrequently been planted in a few parks, campuses, and public landscapes by landscape architects in eastern North America. Nice, but not a wonderful plant. I would be concerned in North America of possible escape from cultivation by birds eating some fruit.

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Discussion Threads about this plant
Thread Title Last Reply Replies
Favourites just for the scent alone. by Handed Mar 24, 2020 6:58 AM 274
Salt tolerant plants by eclayne Feb 8, 2013 9:39 PM 130
Can you help me ID this lovely tree? by Paul2032 Apr 19, 2012 4:42 AM 5
More on the subject of non-cultivar top-level plants by dave Nov 14, 2011 6:52 PM 69

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