The cherry tree or European bird cherry can be found throughout Europe and as far as the Caucasus and Asia Minor. It is the most common kind of cherry and also the most common form of wild fruit. Cherry trees are usually found individually or in small groups in mixed woodland or hilly areas. The bird cherry can often be found at the edge of a wood. A variety of different cultivated forms have been derived from the wild cherry tree, however the wood of all cherry trees is identical in nature. Depending upon their growing conditions a differentiation is sometimes made between area of origin.
The European bird cherry (Prunus avium L.) belongs to the botanical family Rosaceae. Other related variants include the sour cherry, the sloe tree, the common sweet cherry and mountain cherry, though none of these are used as a source of timber. The bird cherry is not forested. Cherry wood is therefore usually sourced from gardens and fruit plantations.
Cherry trees grow to a height of between 15 and 20 metres, occasionally to 30m height. They can grow to 100 years of age but are usually felled after 50 to 90 years due to a common susceptibility to trunk rot.
The heart and sapwood of the cherry are easily distinguished: the narrow sapwood is yellowish to reddish-white, the heartwood is yellowish to light red-brown. When exposed to light it darkens reddish-brown to light gold-brown. The wood has a fine pore structure, the pores of spring growth are slightly larger. As a result the annual growth rings are easily discernable as fine patterning in the wood.
Cherry wood is used mainly for making furniture and for interior furnishings.
Cherry wood is medium-weight and is hard and resilient. It is both strong and elastic. It is subject to shrinkage, but after drying remains stable. It is not durable when exposed to the outdoor elements. Light colouration can occur in contact with iron, slighter colouration is also possible in conjunction with copper or brass.
Cherry wood is light and clean to use. It can easily be sawn, planed, profiled as well as cut and carved. When stream-treated it can be bent to shape. Staining, colouring and polishing are no problem. Screwed, nailed or glued joins present no problems.
Cherry is available as round or sawn timber as well as veneer.
Other variants: Sweet cherry, Bird cherry, wood cherry, wild cherry
- Interior furnishing
- Ceiling and wall casing
- Doors, stairs, fitted furniture
- Carving and turning
- Consumer articles
- Musical instruments