Prunus serotina

Plant Name Black Cherry
Scientific name Prunus serotina
Family Rosaceae
Location Thickets
Flowering Period Spring, March-June
Identifying Characteristics Tree about 49–98 ft tall, white flowers and green to red to black round fruits


  • Deciduous tree
  • 49-98 ft tall, trunk up to 28–47 in around
  • Leaves are:
    • Oval, serrated at the edge
    • 2.4–5.5 in
    • Light to medium green
    • Smooth, glossy and waxy
  • Flowers:
    • 5 white petals
    • Small flowers, 0.39–0.59 in
    • Blooms March-June
    • Fertilizes late summer to fall; fruit is a drupe, ½in in diameter
    • Fruit is green to red at first, then ripening to black
    • Fruit is astringent and bitter when eaten fresh, but also somewhat sweet


  • Habitat
    • Thickets, woodlands, canyons, floodplains, and lower riparian slopes
    • Likes moist or dry, open woods
    • Likes moderate amounts of water and sun, part shade, or shade
    • Native to eastern North America: from eastern Canada through southern Quebec and Ontario; south through the eastern United States to Texas and central Florida
  • Interesting facts:
    • moderately long-lived tree, aging up to 258 years old
    • Fruit is readily eaten by birds
    • Cherries eaten raw (must be pitted) and used in jellies, jams, pies, and as a flavoring extract in drinks and syrups
    • Inner bark used in cough syrups, sedatives, and tonics
    • The bark, leaves, and seeds of this species are highly toxic to humans and herbivorous mammals, and may be fatal if ingested
    • The rich reddish-brown wood is strong, hard, and close-grained. It works well and finishes smoothly, making it one of the most valued cabinet and furniture woods

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