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Prunus serotina

Phonetic Spelling
PROO-nus seh-roh-TEE-nuh
This plant has high severity poison characteristics.
See below
Description

Prunus serotina, commonly called black cherry, wild cherry or wild rum cherry, is native to eastern North America, Mexico, and Central America. It is one of the largest of the cherries, typically growing to 50-80’ (less frequently to 100’) tall with a narrow-columnar to rounded crown. It is perhaps most noted for its profuse spring bloom, attractive summer foliage, and fall color.  It tends to be a messy tree, best used along the edges of woods.  This tree is frequently damaged by deer.

The bark of mature trees develops a dark scaly or flaky pattern. Bark, roots, and leaves contain concentrations of toxic cyanogenic compounds, hence the noticeable bitter almond aroma of the inner bark.

Insects, Diseases, or Other Plant Problems:  As with most cherries, the black cherry tree it is susceptible to a large number of insect and disease pests. Potential diseases include leaf spot, die back, leaf curl, powdery mildew, root rot, and fireblight. Potential insects include aphids, scale, borers, leafhoppers, caterpillars, tent caterpillars and Japanese beetles. Spider mites may also be trouble.

Poison Delivery Mode: Ingestion

Cultivars:
  • 'Spring Sparkle'
Tags:
#fragrant#butterflies#deciduous#fall color#birds#pollinators#shade tree#songbirds#poisonous#edible fruit#wildlife plant#showy#nectar plant#attracts birds#host plant#flowering tree#small mammals#low flammability#deer resistant#fire resistant
Cultivars:
  • 'Spring Sparkle'
Tags:
#fragrant#butterflies#deciduous#fall color#birds#pollinators#shade tree#songbirds#poisonous#edible fruit#wildlife plant#showy#nectar plant#attracts birds#host plant#flowering tree#small mammals#low flammability#deer resistant#fire resistant
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Prunus
    Species:
    serotina
    Family:
    Rosaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    The hard, reddish-brown wood takes a fine polish and is commercially valued for use in a large number of products such as furniture, veneers, cabinets, interior paneling, gun stocks, instrument/tool handles, and musical instruments.
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    North America
    Fire Risk Rating:
    low flammability
    Wildlife Value:
    The Black cherry tree is a host plant for Coral Hairstreak, Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, Red-Spotted Purple, Spring Azure and Viceroy butterflies.  Adult butterflies nectar from the spring flowers.  Fruits are eaten by songbirds, wild turkeys, quail, white-tailed deer and small mammals.
    Play Value:
    Wildlife Enhancement
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    fire in the landscape.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 50 ft. 0 in. - 80 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 30 ft. 0 in. - 60 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Native Plant
    Poisonous
    Tree
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Oval
    Pyramidal
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Occasionally Wet
    Available Space To Plant:
    more than 60 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    Usda Plant Hardiness Zone:
    2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Red/Burgundy
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Summer
    Fruit Type:
    Berry
    Fruit Description:
    The flowers are followed by drooping clusters of small red cherries (to 3/8” diameter) that ripen in late summer to dark purple-black. The fruits are bitter and inedible fresh off the tree but can be used to make jams and jellies. Fruits have also been used to flavor certain liquors such as brandy and whiskey. Pitted fruits are eaten raw or made into jelly when combined with apples, or jell alone with added pectin. Sauces, pies, and flavorings are also made from these cherries.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Raceme
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    3-6 inches
    Flower Description:
    The Black Cherry has fragrant white flowers in slender pendulous clusters (racemes to 6” long) which appear with the foliage in spring (late April-May).
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Soft
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Orange
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Elliptical
    Oblong
    Leaf Margin:
    Dentate
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    The leaves (2 to 5 inches) and twigs have a cherry fragrance and bitter taste. The leaves are alternate with a finely toothed margin, inconspicuous glands on the stem and yellow-brown pubescence on the underside of the leaf.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Dark Brown
    Surface/Attachment:
    Papery
    Bark Description:
    The bark of mature trees develops a dark scaly or flaky pattern. Bark, roots, and leaves contain concentrations of toxic cyanogenic compounds, hence the noticeable bitter almond aroma of the inner bark.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Native Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Design Feature:
    Edible
    Flowering Tree
    Shade Tree
    Attracts:
    Butterflies
    Pollinators
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Problems:
    Frequent Disease Problems
    Frequent Insect Problems
    Messy
  • Poison:
    Poison Severity:
    High
    Poison Symptoms:
    Gasping, weakness, excitement, pupil dilation, spasms, convulsions, coma, respiratory failure.
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    Cyanogenic glycoside, amygdalin
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    No
    Poison Part:
    Leaves
    Seeds
    Stems