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Prunus padus, known as Bird Cherry or Hackberry, 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 north of the Arctic Circle in Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia. It is the type species of the subgenus Padus, which have flowers in racemes.

Characteristics

The English name “hackberry”[2] refers to the fruit, which is astringent due to their tannin content.[3]

There are two varieties:

  • European Bird CherryPrunus padus var. padus, Europe and western Asia.
  • Asian Bird CherryPrunus padus var. commutata, eastern Asia.

 

Ecology

The flowers are hermaphroditic and pollinated by bees and flies. The fruit is readily eaten by birds, which do not taste astringency as unpleasant.

Uses

The fruit of this tree is seldom used in western Europe, but is commonly eaten farther east.

It was used medicinally during the Middle Ages.[clarification needed]

The bark of the tree, placed at the door, was supposed to ward off plague.[clarification needed]

It is also sold as an ornamental in North America as a May Day tree.[clarification needed]

A taboo on the use of the wood was reported by natives of Advie, in northeast Scotland, being regarded as a “witches tree”.[2]

 

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Written on April 23rd, 2012 , Fruits Tags:

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