Gean – Prunus avium (Rosaceae)

Gaelic: geanais

Common Names: Wild Cherry, Mazzard

Gean Leaves. Photo by Robyn Drinkwater

Gean Leaves

Gean is native to Europe, north west Africa and west Asia. In Britain it grows in deciduous woodland and is easily recognisable in the early summer, when large clusters of white flowers cover its branches. The bark, especially of young trees is smooth, and reddish-brown in colour, with grey lenticels. This combined with the flowers has made it an attractive plant, and so it is cultivated widely.

The wood is reddish brown in colour and is very attractive for furniture, musical instruments and for turning. The fruits can be eaten and were used to flavour alchoholc drinks including brandy and whisky. Gean is one of the parents of most cultivated cherries in Europe.