For centuries, the wild cherry has been cultivated in gardens and its seeds distributed by birds, so that now it is difficult to determine its original, natural area of distribution. Today, it is found growing in mixed, broad-leaved woods throughout western, central and eastern Europe, in lowland, hilly and sub-alpine areas up to heights of 700 to 900 metres. It is a robust tree which, under forest competition, attains a height of 20 to 25 metres and develops a tall, straight bole. Grown in the open it forms a short trunk and broad crown. The smooth, red-brown bark becomes shallowly fis-sured in older trees. The buds are ovoid; flower buds are plumper and borne in clusters on the side branches. The white, long-stalked flowers open in April and early May, developing into dark red drupes which ripen at the beginning of July. These are a favourite of birds, which disperse the seeds throughout the surrounding countryside. The red-brown wood is of high quality and is used to make furniture and in joinery. All cultivated forms of sweet cherry are descended from this species.
Leaves: 6—15 cm long, obovate, with roughly serrate margins and a slender point; there are 2 reddish glands on the stalk. Flowers: White. Fruit: Dark red drupe, 1 cm long, with long stalk and smooth stone.