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Black Cherry
(Prunus serotina)

Key ID Features: Bark, Rusty Leaf Fuzz, Fruit, Bitter Twig Taste

Black Cherry

Other Names: Wild Cherry, Rum Cherry, Mountain Black Cherry

LEAVES of black cherry are 2-6 inches long, about an inch to inch-and-a-half wide,
with a pointed tip. Most of the season, rusty-colored FUZZ can be found on the
back of the leaf, along the mid-vein, especially near the leaf stem. The teeth along

the leaf margin are somewhat incurved.


White FLOWERS bloom in June after leaf-out. The CHERRIES turn from dark red to dark purple in September, later than the similar choke CHERRIES. FLOWERS and CHERRIES are arranged in a
"raceme" which is a central stem with numerous, short side stems holding one
berry each.


The BARK starts out smooth and dark gray but soon develops black
scales that resemble burnt potato chips.


The TWIGS are slender, dark gray, with
a bitter taste. A disease called "black knot" often infects the TWIGS. It appears
as a large, black swelling with a "soot-like" covering.


Terminal BUDS are a little longer than wide and sharp-tipped.


The TRUNK is often sweepy but on good sites with the proper stand history can grow nice log sizes and shapes.


Black cherry often occurs on sites that have been severely disturbed within the last several
decades. It often grows in ASSOCIATION with oak, aspen, and a number of brush
species. It is intolerant of shade and soon dies out in stands of longer-lived


Common pests: eastern tent caterpillar, leafminers, cankerworms, tussock
moths, ugly nest caterpillar, walkingsticks, black knot, frost cracking.

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