Bird Cherry – Prunus padus (Rosaceae)

Gaelic: fiodhag

Common Names: Hackberry

Bird Cherry Flowers. Photo by Gavin Harris


Native to northern Europe and northern Asia it flourishes along streams and on woodland edges, tolerating quite poor and limey soils. It is a small tree reaching up to 15m. The flowers are held in racemes (spikes) and are scented. The fruits are small, black and bitter in taste, but are popular with birds, which has given it the common name ‘Bird Cherry’.

The fruit were used to make a traditional Scottish Liquer, by steeping them in sweetened brandy or whisky. The bark was also used to create a suffusion for treating stomach ache and colic.