the bird cherry
is on the right.

Trees of London
The Tower of London

Bird Cherry

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              There are lots of cherry trees scattered about London and Britain generally; it is a very popular tree indeed, because it is quite small and makes a nice garden tree. It is often found it churchyards. However, most cherry trees that you see originate from Japan. This one, the bird cherry, is native to Britain, though very rare these days. It is called the bird cherry because birds like the fruit; they are edible to humans, but our refined palates find them a little bitter. During the middle ages when the Black Death was rife, it was thought that the bark from this tree had spiritual properties which could ward off the plague.

          Perhaps the reason why this tree is in decline is because its fruit does not taste as good as that of the wild cherry, and it does not bloom as beautifully as the Japanese cherry, and so it is caught somewhere in the middle.

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Other Trees at Tower Hill

black poplar      Norway maple     acacia

sycamore     rowan      London plane

ginkgo     honey locust

Tower of London

Tree Identification

prunus padus

bird cherry leaf

alternate; veins: opposite; oval with a point; about half the size of normal (Japanese) cherry trees..

unripe, green fruit of bird cherry tree

pea sized cherries, black.

bird cherry flowerflowers: April/May; white; pretty, but not elaborate.
bird cherry bark bark:
smooth and metallic with horizontal ridges.
grows to about 20 metres
sometimes more than one trunk; compressed.
general: quite rare, especially in London, though there is also one in Linconln's Inn fields.

Across the road from the Tower and
walking east from Trinity Square Gardens;
the other side of the Roman wall, the bird cherry
is the second furthest along, to the end.

Trees of London        A James Wilkinson Publication ©