Page authors: Don Knoke, David Giblin
Prunus avium
sweet cherry

Distribution: Occurring chiefly west of the Cascades crest in Washington, though distributed widely throughout the state; British Columbia to California, east to the Rocky Mountains, also in eastern North America.

Habitat: Forest edges, fields, wastelots, and other disturbed areas.

Flowers: April-May

Origin: Introduced from Eurasia

Growth Duration: Perennial

Conservation Status: Not of concern


Deciduous tree with peeling red-brown bark, to 25 m. tall.


Leaves alternate, oval and pointed, finely serrate, green above and somewhat downy beneath, with 2 conspicuous red glands at the top of the petiole.


Inflorescence a loose cluster of 2-6 flowers; petals 5, white, up to 15 mm. long; stamens 20-30; pistil 1.


Fruit a drupe, globose, yellow, becoming dark red, strongly acid.

Accepted Name:
Prunus avium (L.) L.
Publication: Fl. Suec. (ed. 2) 165. 1755.

Synonyms & Misapplications:
Cerasus avium (L.) Moench
Additional Resources:

PNW Herbaria: Specimen records of Prunus avium in the Consortium of Pacific Northwest Herbaria database.

WA Flora Checklist: Prunus avium checklist entry.

E-Flora BC: Prunus avium atlas page.

CalPhotos: Prunus avium photos.

USDA Plants: Prunus avium information.

21 photographs:
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