European Cherry—Wild Cherry—Gean (Prunus avium)
Uses Used mainly in cabinet making, with some limited used in high quality interior joinery, e.g., panelling. Cherry is also ideal for turnery, and for making small domestic articles and toys.
Scottish Cherry The wild Scottish cherry, gean, is a well loved tree that features frequently in Highland folklore. Scottish cherry can have some beautiful streaks of colour through it. Some ASHS members carry a reasonable quantity of this wood, but supplies can vary considerably over time. Reaches a maximum height of 25 metres, commonly shorter.
Strength & Structure
Grain Generally straight.
Strength Tough as ash when fresh sawn; slightly less strong than European beech, with medium, bending and crushing strength and shock resistance, but low stiffness.
Density European cherry has a density of 600kg/m3 at 12% moisture content.
Structure Distinct growth rings, caused by aggregation of vessels in bands at the beginning of each ring. Rays can easily be seen, but the parenchyma are sparse and not visible.
Durability & Drying Heartwood is moderately durable; sapwood liable to attack from common furniture beetle. Has a tendency to warp, but dries readily.
Colour & Figure Pale pinkish brown with shades of gold; tends to darken on exposure to light. Can have a slight green streak running parallel to the grain. Generally uniform in appearance, with subtly defined growth rings.
Working Properties Moderate blunting effect on tools, but generally satisfactory sawing and machining, provided the wood is reasonably straight grained. Has very good bending qualities and glues well. Staining and polishing is good.
Looks and Leaves The native cherry looks slightly different from other trees. It has rising branches in well spaced whorls on the trunk, which has smooth glossy purplish-brown bark with horizontally elongated pores. The bark consequently peels in horizontal papery strips. In April and May the cherry produces white flowers on single stems; young leaves have a golden tinge, but become greener as they mature. In autumn leaves turn yellow then crimson, they are 6-15cm long, limp and drooping, elliptical with toothed margins and hairy undersides. Leaf stalks are between 2 and 5cm long. The red fruit is almost round, 1cm across, sweet when ripe at the end of summer.
Habitat Seeds require winter chilling before germination. The tree grows best on good fertile soil, but will grow ina range of conditions.
Ecological Value Flowers are a good source of pollen and small cherries a food source for many songbirds.
Fruit and Bark