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Prunus serotina

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

Black Cherry is a deciduous tree that may grow 60 to 80 feet tall. The tree has alternate leaves with a finely toothed margin, inconspicuous glands on the stem, and yellow-brown pubescence on the underside of the leaf. The bark of the tree is marked by horizontal lenticels. As the tree ages, it exhibits a scaly or flaky pattern. In the spring, small, white flowers mature. The tree produces a round, dark purple fruit that matures in late summer.

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.

Fire Risk: This plant has a low flammability rating.

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 / Varieties:
  • 'Spring Sparkle'
Tags:
#fragrant#butterflies#fruit#deciduous#fall color#birds#shade tree#songbirds#poisonous#wildlife plant#showy#native tree#nectar plant#host plant#flowering tree#host#small mammals#food source#low flammability#NC native#deer resistant#fire resistant#edible fruits#pollinator plant#Braham Arboretum#food source summer#butterfly
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Spring Sparkle'
Tags:
#fragrant#butterflies#fruit#deciduous#fall color#birds#shade tree#songbirds#poisonous#wildlife plant#showy#native tree#nectar plant#host plant#flowering tree#host#small mammals#food source#low flammability#NC native#deer resistant#fire resistant#edible fruits#pollinator plant#Braham Arboretum#food source summer#butterfly
  • 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:
    W. Canada to NW. U.S.A., E. Canada to Guatemala
    Distribution:
    Arizona north east to Nebraska north to North Dakota northeast to Quebec south throughout the south also found in British Columbia and Washington.
    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 Food Source
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    fire in the landscape.
    Edibility:
    Cherries are also consumed by wildlife and humans
    Dimensions:
    Height: 60 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:
    Conical
    Pyramidal
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Soil Texture:
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    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:
    Black
    Gold/Yellow
    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:
    Pink
    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). White to pink hanging narrow clusters flowers.
  • 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
    Lanceolate
    Oblong
    Leaf Margin:
    Dentate
    Serrate
    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. Dark green above pale below leaves
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Dark Brown
    Light Gray
    Surface/Attachment:
    Lenticels
    Papery
    Bark Description:
    Younger bark is shiny and has verticle lenticels. 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
    Edible Garden
    Native Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Design Feature:
    Flowering Tree
    Shade Tree
    Attracts:
    Butterflies
    Pollinators
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Fire
    Problems:
    Frequent Disease Problems
    Frequent Insect Problems
    Messy
    Poisonous to Humans
  • Poisonous to Humans:
    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