Prunus serotina
(Black Cherry)


A medium sized tree growing to about 60′ tall but occasionally growing taller.

Leaves: deciduous, alternate, simple, narrowly-oval or oblong, finely toothed, 2-6″ in length and 1/2 – 1″ in width. Dark green on top and paler below turning bright yellow in fall.

Flowers: white, 1/2″ across with five petals, early spring when leaves are about half grown, occurring on racemes 4-6″ long.

Fruit: pea sized berries, single seed, red at first but turning dark purple to black as they ripen.

Twigs: slender and reddish brown. Buds are scaly and pointed, terminal bud is about 1/2″ long.

Bark: thin and light colored on younger trees with lenticels present. On older trees the bark develops rough scaly plates.

Comments: Fruit is valuable for wildlife and can be used for jellies, jams and wines. However, seeds contain cyanide which is destroyed by cooking. Can tolerate a variety of sites, but usually prefers well-drained areas.

“Immature fruit”    by    Rasbak    is licensed under    CC BY 3.0