Bitter cherry trees are found in clear cut areas or areas that have been cleared due to burning. The seeds of a bitter cherry are spread by animals and can survive on forest floors for decades waiting for the ideal moment to sprout into a tree, they are rarely seen in mature forests because of this.
The bark of a bitter cherry is shiny and mostly smooth except for horizontal lenticels that are orange in younger trees and dark reddish-brown in mature trees. The leaves are oval shaped and are 1 to 6 inches long and have a dull yellowish-green color. The flowers are white and appear in clusters of 5 to 12. The Bitter Cherry tree produces bright red smaller sized cherries that have a very bitter taste.