A stunning, scented show-stopper of a tree. The spring flowers provide an early source of nectar and pollen. The flowers of bird cherries smell like almonds, and the sweet nectar gathered by bees makes great-tasting honey. After being pollinated by insects, the flowers develop into reddish-black, bitter cherries loved by blackbird and song thrush, as well as mammals such as badger, wood mouse and dormouse.
If placed at the front door, the strong-smelling bark of the tree was believed to have magical properties that could ward off the plague.
Before industrial pesticides were available, the bark of bird cherry was used as a pesticide. Bird cherry has been used medicinally in the past for the manufacture of cough medicine, eyewash and to treat kidney stones, bronchitis, anaemia and many other ailments.