The Wild Cherry known as the Gean in Scotland is native to Britain and Europe. It is a
medium-sized tree, which can grow up to 40ft and is a member of the Rose Family,
as are many fruit trees.
The Wild Cherry is at its most beautiful in spring covered with brilliant white flowers.
“Loveliest of trees the cherry now
is hung with bloom along the bow….”
AE Houseman A Shropshire Lad
As well as growing in the wild, it is widely cultivated for its fruit and timber. Prunus
avium is used as the rootstock for all flowering cherries requiring grafting. The Latin
‘avium’ means ‘of the birds’ and if they are not netted, birds will soon devour the
cherries, which cover the tree in July.
Cherry wood is a beautiful rich red and is used to make furniture, veneers and
musical instruments.
Mythology of the Cherry
An old English carol tells of how Joseph and the pregnant Mary were walking in a
cherry orchard when Mary asked Joseph to pick her some cherries. Joseph
remarked unkindly that she should get him who ‘brought thee with child’ to pick the
cherries for her. The unborn Christ child then bid the cherry trees, lower their
branches so that Mary could pick her own cherries, and Joseph was suitably

Tree Trail. Stop 17: Wild Cherry