- Not to be confused with Prunus avium, meaning "wild cherry".
Prunus padus, known as bird cherry, hackberry, hagberry, or Mayday tree, is a species of cherry, native to northern Europe and northern Asia. It is a deciduous small tree or large shrub, 8–16 m tall, which grows south of the Arctic Circle in the British Isles, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Russia and Ukraine. There are also some trees in France, Spain, Portugal, North Italy and in the Balkans. It is the type species of the subgenus Padus, which have flowers in racemes.
|Bird cherry flowers|
There are two varieties:
- European bird cherry Prunus padus var. padus, Europe and western Asia.
- Asian bird cherry Prunus padus var. commutata, eastern Asia.
Bird-cherry ermine moth (Yponomeuta evonymella) uses bird-cherry as its host plant, and the larvae can eat single trees leafless.
The fruit of this tree is seldom used in western Europe, but is commonly eaten farther east.
The black fruits of the tree can be ground down to make flour for culinary purposes.
It was used medicinally during the Middle Ages.[clarification needed]
The variety commutata is sold as an ornamental tree in North America under the common name Mayday. It is valued for it's hardiness and spring display of fragrant, white flowers. The common name Mayday tree is not related to the distress signal mayday as the name for the tree was in use prior to the adoption of mayday as an international distress signal.
- Taphrina padi - A Pocket Plum gall that occurs on Bird Cherry
- Rehder, A. 1940, reprinted 1977. Manual of cultivated trees and shrubs hardy in North America exclusive of the subtropical and warmer temperate regions. Macmillan publishing Co., Inc, New York.
- "The Plant List: A Working List of All Plant Species". Retrieved January 27, 2014.
- Walter Gregor, "Some Folklore of Trees, Animals, and River-fishing from the N.E. of Scotland" The Folk-Lore Journal. Volume 7, 1889. p. 41.
- "Bird cherry (Prunus padus)". Science & Plants for Schools (U.K.).
- N.D.Sargison; D.S.Williamson; J.R.Duncan; R.W.McCance (1996). "Prunus Padus (bird cherry) poisoning in cattle". Veterinary Record. 138: 188. doi:10.1136/vr.138.8.188.
…stems, leaves and fruits of P. padus contain the glycosides prulaurasin and amygdalin…
- The London Journal: and Weekly Record of Literature, Science, and Art, Volume 32, page 475