The fire cherry -- Prunus pensylvanica -- is classified as a small tree or shrub. It can grow from 4.6 to 15 metres (15 to 50 feet) in height. Another name for the fire cherry tree is pin cherry. After a fire, its dormant seeds germinate quickly and seedlings rapidly grow to cover the burnt area.
Fire cherry trees have reddish-brown outer bark that becomes tough over a period of time. The leaves of the fire cherry tree are green and approximately 7.5 to 12.5 cm (3 to 5 inches) in length with a sawn edge. The tree has shiny red twigs that support white flower clusters in the spring and light-coloured red cherries during the autumn.
The fire cherry is native to mountainous regions and enjoys full sun. The tree isn't native to the UK but it has been cultivated here since the late 18th century. It is found in north-eastern areas of the United States and also grows in abundance in Canada.
The fire cherry tree offers shade to other smaller plants and shrubs. Animals use the foliage and fruit of the fire cherry tree for a food source. Manufacturers harvest the bark of the fire cherry for fibre and its wood for fuel.
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