This is quite a showy tree when in bloom with its long, white tail-like arrangement of flowers. The bark is smooth, greyish-brown, with a strong unpleasant smell when rubbed. The leaves are elliptical to elongate, with dark green upper surfaces and greeny-blue undersides. They grow up to 10cm long, have finely toothed margins, and they taper towards the tip. The flowers open in May, and are white, almond-scented and grow in spikes which can be pendulous or ascending growing up to 15cm long. The fruits are 6-8mm and glossy black, and are generally only eaten by birds, such is their sour, acidic taste. The tree can grow up to 17m (55ft) in height, and can live for up to 200 years.
Found in woodland, hedgerows, parks and gardens, and other urban green spaces. A native tree, common and widespread across Britain, and also planted as an ornamental tree in parks and gardens.
Many species of insect rely on Bird Cherry for food, especially several species of moths. The fruits are eaten by birds such as robins, thrushes, and starlings.
May 2012, local pathway, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2012.