Nature Champions: Wild cherry


Wild cherry trees can grow up to 30m and are native to the UK. In Scotland, cherry is sometimes referred to as ‘gean’ and it is a very popular urban tree due to its beautiful bloom in spring. Their flowers are white and cup-shaped with five petals. After pollination by insects, the flowers develop into globular, hairless, deep red cherries. Traditionally cherries were planted for their fruit and wood, which was used for making cask hoops and vine poles. The sticky resin was thought to promote a good complexion and eyesight, and help to cure coughs.

The spring flowers provide an early source of nectar and pollen for bees, while the cherries are eaten by many different invertebrates, birds and mammals. The presence of these trees in urban areas is therefore important for urban wildlife, and, together with other urban trees, they also help clean the air and manage rain water flow.

Action Needed

1. Advocate for better protection for trees, especially ancient trees and woodlands through the planning process.

2. Support a significant increase in canopy cover across Scotland’s towns and cities, and the allocation of appropriate resources for local authorities to manage urban forestry.

3. Support increased native tree planting and ensure Scottish Government is on track with its 15,000 ha of new woodland planting by 2025.

4. Ensure local authorities are meeting their duty to protect and enhance biodiversity, as per the Scottish Biodiversity Strategy.


Wild cherry is susceptible to bacterial cankers, which can disfigure and occasionally kill infected trees. Pruning at the wrong time of year can put trees at risk from silver leaf disease, which can also eventually kill the tree. Dieback can be caused by damage from the cherry black fly.

MSP Nature Champion

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