Prunus serotina (Black Cherry)

by Everchanging Gardener

in Prunus serotina - Black Cherry

Common Names: Black Cherry, Wild Black Cherry
Zone: hardy to zone 3
Plant Type: Deciduous tree
Height: 20 metres (60 to 90 feet) tall
Spread: 35 to 50 feet wide
Bloom: white in May
Fruit: black / red in fall
Habitat: full sun to part shade prefers moist,
fertile soils
Fall Colour: yellow to orange

Prunus serotina BarkAn Ontario native, black cherry tree is native to the Carolinian or Deciduous Forest Region. Prunus serotina is one of the largest cherries, growing to 20 metres (60 feet) with a diameter of up to 2 feet although some have grown as large as 100 feet. In the woodland, native Black Cherry typically develops a straight branch-free trunk. We have several that are naturalized in our back bush. Black Cherry is a fast grower and is long-lived.

Prunus serotina bloomThe flowers are born in long drooping clusters in May and are fairly fragrant. The fruit ripens around mid-August to a dark red almost black bitter cherry that is popular with birds and other wild-life often being eaten before ripening. The bark is smooth, reddish brown with white to grey horizontal lines when young. The bark is smooth, reddish brown with white to grey horizontal lines when young. As it ages, the bark breaks into curly scales on older trees.

Black Cherry, a hardwood, is often grown in woodlots for its wood value. The leaves and inner bark were once used to make cough syrup, tonic and sedative.

Foliage turns a nice yellow with slight oranges in the fall.

Black Cherry can be host to the tent caterpillar as well as many other insects but they seldom do permanent harm. I have also witnessed Black Knot in the cherries one year although interestingling it has not returned.

Prunus serotina Black Cherry Tree

A small Black Cherry (prunus serotina) rescued from grapevine in 2007

Garden Location: Several trees were growing naturally in our Woodland Garden.

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