Bitter cherry is a charming, suckering shrub-tree that grows at mid to high elevations in the Klamath-Siskiyou Mountains. It’s growth habit can range from 3′ shrub to a 70′ tree. In the Klamath-Siskiyou the shrub form is often found growing in dense thickets at the edge of meadows, open slopes, ridgelines, and woodland margins. The tree form is found in shaded forests where the plants reach for the sun in the canopy. The almond-scented flowers are white and arranged in a loose, flat-topped cluster. Blooms May-June. The flowers are attractive to native bees, butterflies and hummingbirds. Bitter cherry has handsome, smooth, reddish-brown bark that peels in strips and was used by Native tribes for basketry and tool making. Deer and elk browse the leaves and twigs. The fruit is a round, bright red, juicy drupe. The fruit is bitter and is not palatable and is known as a laxative; many mammals and birds, however, savor the fruit. Bitter cherry will surely bring songbirds and pollinators to your yard. It is a good soil stabilizer and makes a great hedge. Bitter cherry is deciduous and is a species in the Rosaceae (Rose) family. Deer and elk browse the stems and leaves. A larval host plant for numerous butterfly species.
Seed Germination Instructions
120 days cold-moist stratification. Sow outside in fall.