Image for Bitter Cherry

Bitter Cherry

Scientific name

Prunus emarginata


Bitter Cherry is a short deciduous tree or shrub species that can grow up to 15 m tall. This plant may also be known by the common names Wild Cherry or Quinine Cherry. The bark is reddish brown colored, smooth, and covered in horizontal lenticels. The leaves are dark green colored with pale green undersides, alternately arranged, ovate shaped, and have finely toothed margins. The flowers are white colored, have five petals, appear in small clusters, and bloom between April and May. These flowers produce clusters of small, round, red or black colored fruits. The flowers are beneficial to pollinator species, such as bees and butterflies. The fruit and habitat are beneficial to wildlife species, such as birds and small mammals. This tree can grow as either an ornamental tree or a hedge-like shrub, depending on pruning. The roots are good for controlling erosion and stabilizing shorelines.

Planting conditions

Bitter Cherry grows best in moist or normal conditions with full or partial sun exposure. It prefers well-drained sand or loam soil types. It can tolerate drought and dry soil but young plants should be watered occasionally during hot summers. This tree can be naturally found in mountainous areas, open forests, forest edges, and along lake or stream shorelines.


  • Plant height:
    • Any
    • Over 3m
  • Moisture level:
    • Dry
    • Normal
    • Moist
    • Drought Tolerant
  • Light conditions:
    • Full sun
    • Partial sun
  • Soil type:
    • Sandy
    • Loamy
    • Rocky
  • pH:
    • Normal
  • Depth:
    • Potted
    • Bareroot
  • Eco Zone:
    • 3b
    • 4a
    • 4b
    • 5a
    • 5b
    • 6a
    • 6b
    • 7a
    • 7b
    • 8a
  • Plant type:
    • Tree
  • Height:
    • 15 m
  • Spread:
    • 3 m