Commercial Timbers


H. G. Richter and M. J. Dallwitz

Prunus avium (L.) L., P. serotina Ehrh. (Kirschbaum, cherry)

Nomenclature etc. ROSACEAE. Trade and local names: Kirsche, Kirschbaum, Süßkirsche, Vogelkirsche (DE), kersen (NL), cherry, gean, mazzard (GB), merisier (FR), ciliegio montano (IT), cerezo silvestre (ES), yabani fisne (TR), aaluh kak (IR), mad rcsereszyne (HU). Not protected under CITES regulations.

Tree. Geographic distribution: Europe, excl. Mediterranean (Prunus avium: cultivated worldwide in temperate climate zones), or North America (P. serotina).

General. Growth ring boundaries distinct. Heartwood basically brown to red to yellow to white or grey. Sapwood colour distinct from heartwood colour. Density 0.49–0.67 g/cm³.

Vessels. Vessels present. Wood semi-ring-porous. Vessels arranged in no specific pattern, in multiples, commonly short (2–3 vessels) radial rows. Average tangential vessel diameter 30–50–70 µm (earlywood vessels only). Average number of vessels/mm² 65–90–105. Perforation plates simple. Intervessel pits alternate, average diameter (vertical) 5–7 µm. Vessel-ray pits with distinct borders, similar to intervessel pits (but somewhat smaller). Helical thickenings present, in narrow and wide vessel elements, throughout the body of vessel elements.

Tracheids and fibres. Vascular or vasicentric tracheids commonly present. Fibres of medium wall thickness. Average fibre length 800–1100–1300 µm. Fibre pits mainly restricted to radial walls, distinctly bordered. Helical thickenings present.

Axial parenchyma. Axial parenchyma absent or extremely rare.

Rays. Rays multiseriate (also if only few), 2–4(–8) cells wide. Rays composed of a single cell type (homocellular), or two or more cell types (heterocellular); homocellular ray cells procumbent. Heterocellular rays with square and upright cells restricted to marginal rows, mostly 1 marginal row of upright or square cells.

Mineral inclusions. Crystals not observed. Silica not observed.

Illustrations. • Macro images. Prunus avium. Transverse. Radial. • Transverse section. Prunus avium. • Tangential section. Prunus avium. • Radial section. Prunus avium. (Inset: spiral thickenings in vessels).

The interactive key allows access to the character list, illustrations, full and partial descriptions, diagnostic descriptions, differences and similarities between taxa, lists of taxa exhibiting specified attributes, summaries of attributes within groups of taxa, and geographical distribution.

Cite this publication as: ‘Richter, H.G., and Dallwitz, M.J. 2000 onwards. Commercial timbers: descriptions, illustrations, identification, and information retrieval. In English, French, German, Portuguese, and Spanish. Version: 25th June 2009.’.