WSU Clark County Extension

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Bitter Cherry

Scientific name: Prunus emarginata

Type:Deciduous tree
Plant Requirements
Zone:4 to 8
Sun:Full to partial sun
Plant Characteristics
Height:50 ft
Width:30 ft
Bloom:Showy flowers
Bloom Time:April to May
Bloom Color:White
Additional Characteristics



Wildlife value

Description Bitter Cherry is a Northwest native tree which is named for the formation of 3/8” long red fruit which are juicy but bitter. Also known as Wild Cherry.

This deciduous tree grows either as a small multi-stemmed shrub or an upright tree which can attain a height of up 50’. Leaves are oblong to oval in shape, fine toothed, and have rounded tips.

Attractive clusters of small, white flowers are produced in April and May. These flowers are fragrant. Each flower is ½” wide and has 5 notched petals.

The bark of Bitter Cherry is smooth and dark brown to red in color. It bears horizontal light gray interrupted bands and rows of oblong orange colored lenticels.

This species succeeds in full sun or partial shade but grows best in a sunny position. It is adaptable to a wide array of soil types, but prefers those that are moist and nutrient-rich. Many forms of wildlife are attracted to the fruit in the fall. The nectar from the bloom attract attracts butterflies.

None reported.
For assistance, contact Dr. Charles Brun (, (360) 397-6060 5701
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