Bird cherry

Bird cherry

Bird cherry

Specification & Spread

Bird cherry fruits — fructus padi
European bird cherry — padus avium mill. ( = раdus racemosa gilib.)
Rose family — rosaceae
Other names: bitter-berry, crab-cherry, wild garlic.
It is a small tree or shrub 2-10 m tall.
The bark is matte, black and gray. On young shoots it is brown with whitish-yellow lentils. The inner yellow bark is with a distinctive almond smell.
The leaves are alternate, petiolate, elliptic or obovate, serrate on the edge and dark green.
The flowers are pentamerous, white, fragrant, gathered in multiflorous drooping brush with a length of 8-12 cm.
The fruit is a black spherical stone fruit with a diameter of 7-10 mm.
It blooms in May – June, the fruits ripen in August – September.
Spreading. It is widely spread in the forest and forest-steppe zones of the European part of the country, Western and Eastern Siberia and the Far East. The isolated locations exist in the Caucasus, in the mountains of Kazakhstan and Central Asia. It is often cultivated in gardens as an ornamental plant.
Habitat. It grows on the banks of rivers, in the riverside forests, along forest edges, in bush thickets.


The bird cherry fruits contain:

  • 4.5-8% of tannins,
  • organic acids (malic, citric),
  • phenolic acids (chlorogenic),
  • anthocyanins (cyanidin 3-rutinoside, cyanidin 3-glucoside),
  • pectic substances,
  • sugar.

It is contained in leaves, flowers and seeds:

  • cyanogenic glycosides: amygdalin, prulaurazin, prunazin.

Amigdalin is well soluble in water, insoluble in ether, with enzymatic cleavage gives benzaldehyde, hydrocyanic acid and glucose.
The aroma of the plant due to the presence of glycoside prunazin.
The leaves contain up to 200 mg% of ascorbic acid.

Harvesting and storage of raw materials

Harvesting. The ripe fruits are harvested in dry weather in the morning, after the dew has come down, or at the end of the day. The harvest is made in buckets or baskets. The harvested fruits are cleaned from the impurity of leaves, twigs and peduncles.
Security measures. The bird cherry fruits can be harvested on the same sites annually. It is unacceptable while picking fruits to cut branches and break off it during flowering.
Drying. It is dried at a temperature not higher than 40-50 ºС. In dry weather it can be dried in the sun, scattering the fruits with a layer of 1-2 cm on a cloth or paper, stirring occasionally. The drying in Russian stoves is allowed. The fruits are dried in the sun for 1-2 days before drying.
Storage. The raw materials are stored in dry, clean and well-ventilated areas.

The fruits are spherical or oblong-ovate stone fruits, sometimes acuminate in some way at the top, up to 8 mm in diameter, wrinkled, without a stem, with a rounded white scar at the place of its falling off. Inside the fruit there is one round or rounded ovoid, very dense, light brown stone up to 7 mm in diameter with one seed. The surface of the fruit is wrinkled, the stones are cross-ridged.
The colour of the fruit is black, dull, less shiny, sometimes with whitish-gray or reddish bloom on the folds.
The smell is weak. The taste is sweet and slightly astringent.

Properties and application

Astringent and anti-inflammatory properties of bird cherry are caused by tannins.
Anthocyanins exhibiting P-vitamin activity have a capillary strengthening effect.
The combination of tannins and anthocyanins provides a sustained anti-inflammatory effect.
Phytoncides of bird cherry have a detrimental effect on pathogenic microorganisms. Phytoncidal properties have the leaves, flowers, bark and fresh fruits of bird cherry. The role of phytoncides is carried out by hydrocyanic acid contained in all organs of the bird cherry.
Application of bird cherry
Due to the presence of tannins, the fruit of the bird cherry is used as an astringent in:

  • enteritis,
  • dyspepsia of various etiologies,
  • as well as an adjunct in infectious colitis, dysentery.
  • Pregnant and lactating women,
  • young children,
  • people with chronic constipation and certain diseases of the gastrointestinal tract.