The Bug Geek

Insects. Doing Science. Other awesome, geeky stuff.

Best Cherry Tree EVER

We have a cherry tree that I. Just. Love.

It’s kind of special to me.  About 5 years ago, I was in Alberta giving a talk, and my host was the man who created the hybrid (it’s called an Evans’ Cherry).  It was a gift, and as far as I know we’re the only people in Ontario to possess one.    I remember distinctly: we were out on his acreage, next to one of his many greenhouses (in which he was creating any number of beautiful plants) and he handed me a stick. 

Yes, a stick.  About one foot tall.  “Put this in the ground”, he said, “and water it for a bit, then forget about it.”   I wrapped the spindly roots in wet paper towels, kept it in my hotel room for another day, then gingerly placed it in my backpack and we flew back to Ontario together.  I did as I was told: stuck it in the ground and watered it.   That little stick grew like no other plant I’ve ever seen: it’s now about 10 feet tall, 8 feet wide, and is just COVERED in gorgeous white blooms that seem to want to grow out of every available surface on every available branch.  Last year, it tried to make cherries, but only succeeded in producing a few green balls.  I’m hoping that, with an extra year of maturity, this year we’ll get some real fruit.

Flower cluster on Evans Cherry (Prunus ‘Evans’)

Which leads me to my little black friends: ants.  The ants frickin’ LOVE this tree, just love it. 

Does that not look like a happy ant? Smile for the camera!

The flowers have a hearty nectar load that makes the surrounding leaves sticky to touch, and the ants spend most of the day drunkenly diving for the sweet liquid:

Once they’ve had their fill, they grudgingly withdraw and then langorously groom sugary nectar from their slender antennae and delicate paws.

The pollen is also a hit…

The flowers attract all kinds of flies and bees as well.  We planted the right next to our back porch, so I can sit in my Muskoka chair and watch the buzz and activity in comfort.  I think I’ll have to get in touch with Dr. Evans soon as see if he can send a few more “sticks” my way 🙂

6 responses to “Best Cherry Tree EVER

  1. RamblingWoods May 9, 2010 at 11:15 AM

    It’s really beautiful …..Michelle

  2. mthew May 11, 2010 at 12:13 PM

    Sweet blossoms and nectar-drunk spiders on a bender. Good thing they don’t drive.

  3. Amber Coakley May 17, 2010 at 9:14 PM

    Wow! What a great cherry tree. I had one in my yard when I was a kid and would have one now if I didn’t live in Texas. Looks like your friend was onto something with that hybrid.

    I had to look at the ant picture twice – that mouth – awesome!

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