Prunus padus

Bird Cherry

  • Hägg (S)
  • Bird Cherry (GB)
  • Faulbaum (D)
  • Le merisier (F)


  • Bird cherry has spread almost throughout Europe and Asia.
  • In Finland it grows as far as the northernmost Lapland.


  • Bird cherry can be found in fresh or moist habitats, for example lush forests and stream banks.
  • It is common in the hollows of grassy woodlands and alongside fields. Bird cherry often forms thickets.
  • It thrives best in a soil composed of clay and sand.
  • Bird cherry requires semi-shade. It survives well the difficulties that winter brings along.
  • In order to grow straight, it requires dense growth around it and a nutritious habitat. In suitable circumstances it is one of the most fast-growing tree species in Finland.

Growth characteristics

  • Bird cherry may grow as much as 15 meters in height and 50 cm in diameter. Usually  it grows several trunks or appears bush-like, branchy and has a curvy trunk.
  • The bark on the trunk is dark grey.
  • Bird cherry has a superficial and extensive root system.
  • The branches which touch the ground become rooted.
  • Bird cherry is considered a decorative and landscaping tree. Thus, its wood has not been utilized.
  • The trunk of a quality bird cherry is limbless and brachless up to over 3 meters in height, and over 20 cm in diameter at chest height. The trunk should be free or cracks, rot and large bumps.

Properties of the wood

  • The sapwood of bird cherry is yellowish and the heartwood brownish. The amount of heartwood is smaller than in rowan.
  • The wood is fairly soft and flexible and it cracks easily.
  • The wood is easy to dry and work. The weight of air-dry sawn timber is 520- 620 kg/m3.
  • Sturdy and healthy trunks are also suitable for practical use, even if they have many limbs or are curved.
  • A-class bird cherry is free of knots and even in colour. The amount of heartwood can only be 2 cm.
  • Rot in the heartwood, variation in colour and knots are acceptable in B-class wood.
  • C-class wood may have dry and rotten knots, and soft rot. It is only used for hidden structures and hobby use.


  • Bird cherry is used for producing furniture.
  • Thanks to its properties, the wood is especially suitable for bendable structures.
  • The wood is also well suitable for lathing.
  • It is also used for jewellery, decorative items and works of art.
  • B and C-class wood are used for more basic purposes, for example hobby crafts.
  • Traditionally bird cherry has been used for shaft bows and pail hoops.