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Bitter Cherry

( Prunus emarginata )

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Bitter Cherry
Bird Cherry
Wild Cherry
Wild Plum
Rosaceae
Prunus
Prunus emarginata
(Douglas) Eaton
Characteristics

Tree

Deciduous

3

Sun, Partial Shade

Sand

Moist

No

No

No

No
Habitat Considerations

Pacific Maritime, Montane Cordillera

Wet Meadow/Prairie/Field, Riparian

Butterfly, Bird
Design Considerations

400 cm

1500 cm

Apr - May

White/Cream|Pink

Yes

Yes

Red

Yes

admiral| azure| swallowtail

Yes

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Squirrels, Birds, Butterflies, Butterfly Larvae

No
Conservation Status

No


Interesting Tidbits

Seeds contained in the bright red cherries are eagerly harvested by Evening Grosbeaks in early autumn. Attracts admiral, azure, swallowtail (larval), orange tip, elfin, and blue (nectar) butterflies. Extremely bitter fruit, leaves and bark. Berries turn from bright red to dark red. Bark reddish-brown with orange powdery horizontal marks (lenticels). As well as birds, bears and small rodents also eat the berries. Its solid bark was peeled by First Nations for making baskets, ropes and for decorating or reinforcing bows, arrows and pipes. The bark stuck on with resin served to dress wounds. (Lauriault) Known Hazards: Although no specific mention has been seen for this species, it belongs to a genus where most, if not all members of the genus produce hydrogen cyanide, a poison that gives almonds their characteristic flavour. This toxin is found mainly in the leaves and seed and is readily detected by its bitter taste. It is usually present in too small a quantity to do any harm but any very bitter seed or fruit should not be eaten. In small quantities, hydrogen cyanide has been shown to stimulate respiration and improve digestion, it is also claimed to be of benefit in the treatment of cancer. In excess, however, it can cause respiratory failure and even death.(Plants For A Future)


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