are bird cherry berries poisonous

A stunning, scented show-stopper of a tree. In spring, nectar-loving animals flock to this beautiful tree for its almond-scented blossom.

Mature trees can grow to 25m. The bark is smooth, peeling and greyish-brown and emits an unpleasant, acrid odour. Twigs are a dull, deep brown with pale markings. Shoots are hairy when young but become hairless with age.

Look out for: the leaf stems (petioles) which have two red glands at the top. Leaves have hairs on the underside in the vein axils.Identified in winter by: lateral buds which are in clusters along the twig.

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Since youre concerned about the potential toxicity of the prunus padus to birds, Ill address that.

Not only is the fruit from the tree safe for birds to eat, but it is also a nutritious component of their diet. It supplies them with needed vitamins and nutrients. Most sources concur that although the seeds are edible, birds cannot digest them. As a result, they drive them out, where they help different kinds of mammals.

Additionally crucial to the health of the tree in your garden are birds.

You failed to specify if you have any animals, either in your garden or close by. If so, please dont plant these trees. Theyre highly toxic to farm animals, especially goats.

An interesting question which is perhaps better on biology. se than here.

But heres my guess. Since ancient times, Prunus padus has been utilized in herbal medicine; cyanide is present, but only in very small amounts. The fruit gets more bitter and unpalatable the more cyanide it contains.

Now the toxin is only harmful to some mammals

And it may be that birds with a stomach pH down to 0.2 also inactivates the ??glucosidases in the fruit which thus prevents the release of the hydrogen cyanide, and they also are unable to digest the seed which contains the main concentration of cyanide. However, interestingly the seeds need to pass through the digestive tracts of birds in order to break dormancy.

Because the leaves and berries of this plant (Prunus padus) contain hydrogen cyanide, which is toxic to humans, the plant is undoubtedly toxic to humans; birds, on the other hand, are not affected by the toxin because of differences in their physiologies. A substance must be able to interact with another substance in the creature in order for it to be toxic to that creature; if that interaction does not exist, the berries are not toxic.

More information here http://www.thepoisongarden.co.uk/faqs.htm

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What does bird cherry look like?

Credit: Nature Photographers Ltd / WTML

hairless and oval, with the exception of tufts beneath the vein joints In contrast to wild cherry, the margins feature pointed tips and fine, sharp serrations, along with two glands on the stalk near the base of the leaf.

Credit: Brian Legg / WTML

Racemes, as they are called in botany, are the short stalks that hold clusters of cherry tree flowers. Each flower has both male and female parts because they are hermaphrodites. Flowers appear in April. They are 8–15 mm in diameter, white, have five petals, and are strongly scented.

Credit: Nature Photographers Ltd / WTML

Insects pollinate the flowers, which turn into bitter, reddish-black cherries. Unlike wild cherry, bird cherry does not produce root suckers.

Not to be confused with:

Trees woods and wildlife

To distinguish between native and non-native trees in the UK, download our free Tree ID app for Android and iPhone. Its an A-Z tree guide in your pocket.

Credit: Bob Gibbons / Alamy Stock Photo

FAQ

Is Bird Cherry poisonous to humans?

The seed and leaves contain hydrogen cyanide, a poison that gives almonds their characteristic flavour. This toxin is readily detected by its bitter taste. Usually present in too small a quantity to do any harm, any very bitter seed or fruit should not be eaten[19, 65].

Are Bird Cherry berries poisonous to dogs?

The parts of the Bird Cherry tree that pose a risk to dogs include the stems, leaves, and seeds of the fruit. These contain cyanide, a toxic substance that can be lethal if consumed in large quantities. The pits can also cause intestinal blockages if swallowed.

Are cherry berries poisonous?

Generally, cherries are a safe fruit to eat. They contain plenty of healthy antioxidants, but eating too many cherries can cause gas and bloating. Ultimately, you’ll want to avoid the fruit pits, bark, leaves and stem — these parts of the plant can be toxic.

What is the benefit of Bird Cherry?

Bird Cherry bark and leaves harbor medicinal properties that have been tapped into for centuries. Historically, concoctions from this tree have been used to treat ailments like kidney and gall stones, coughs, and even conjunctivitis.