E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Prunus avium (L.) L.
sweet cherry
Rosaceae (Rose family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Jamie Fenneman  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #29438)

E-Flora BC Static Map
Distribution of Prunus avium
Click here to view our interactive map and legend
Details about map content are available here
Click on the map dots to view record details.


This is an introduced small deciduous species of tree that is found infrequently in southern BC.

Species Information

Click on the image below to view an expanded illustration for this species.

Tree, 5-25 m tall, mostly smooth throughout; bark reddish-brown, peeling in horizontal strips, with prominent horizontal lenticels.
Alternate, deciduous, oblong-egg-shaped, 6-15 cm long, saw-toothed, gradually tapering to a sharp-pointed tip, smooth above, sometimes downy-hairy beneath; leaf-stalk with 1 or 2 conspicuous reddish glands at the top.
Inflorescence a loose umbel-like cluster, on a short lateral spur-shoot, of 2 to 6 long-stalked flowers; corollas white, bowl-shaped, 15-30 mm across, the petals 5, egg-shaped, squared-off or notched at the tip, 8-15 mm long; calyces 5-lobed, the lobes entire; ovaries superior.
Fleshy drupes with a large stone (cherries), nearly globe-shaped, 15-25 mm long, on stalks about 2.5 cm long, yellow becoming bright to dark red; seeds 1.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Mesic to moist forest edges and fields in the lowland zone; infrequent in S BC; introduced from Eurasia.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Prunus avium

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class




Elevation (metres) 107 201 296
Slope Gradient (%) 0 18 36
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
113 146 180
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
2 3 5
Modal Nutrient Regime
Number of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in: BG(1), CDF(3)


The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is cool mesothermal.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Cerasus avium (L.) Moench

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References