Prunus emarginata

Bitter Cherry

Shrub to small tree, often produces thickets. Bark reddish brown to gray, rows of pores around the trunk. Leaves deciduous, 1–1 1/2 in. long, widest toward rounded tip, finely toothed. Flowers in flat-topped cluster. Flower petals 5, white to pinkish, more or less 20 stamens. Fruit is a bitter cherry 1/3 in. in diameter, bright red. Grows in mixed forests, rocky slopes, at mid- to alpine elevations. Var. mollis is tree-like, to 50 ft., calyx and lower leaf surface thickly short-hairy; found west of Cascades. Var. emarginata is shrub-like, with many stems to 12 ft. tall; found east of Cascades. Important food for birds.

  • Rarity: Common
  • Flowering Time: Late Spring
  • Life Cycle: Perennial
  • Height: 3--30 feet
  • Habitat: Coastal, Meadow, West-Side Forest, East-Side Forest
  • Found In: Siskiyous, West Gorge, Wallowas, Mt. Rainier Np, Olympic Np, Crater Lake Np, N Cascades Np, Steens
  • Native: Yes