Prunus padus
Native (Deciduous) (flowers May-June)

This is a shrub or tree up to about fifteen metres tall but usually rather less, whose brown peeling bark has a strong unpleasant smell. Its leaves are sixty to one hundred millimetres long, from oval to lanceolate in shape and with finely toothed edges, and are hairless or with white hair tufts along the leaf midrib underneath. The arrangement of the flowers in long, usually hanging or drooping heads (called racemes) makes this species easy to recognise. Flowers are fifteen millimetres across, white and with a scent of almonds. Fruits are small, six to eight millimetres, almost round and shiny black in colour.

The bird cherry is quite rare in Ireland although widely distributed. It is located frequently in parts of the north-west, growing in woods and thickets, especially on damp soils in rocky places. Outside Ireland it occurs throughout Europe and is found across Asia to the Himalayas. It is widely planted for ornament and a number of cultivated forms are grown, one with semi-double flowers and another with purple leaves and pale pink flowers.