Black Cherry

Scientific Name

Prunus serotina

Wildlife Value


Average height




Shade Tolerance


Drought Tolerance

Fair to Good

Growth Rate



Edible Berry

Special Characteristics

Fragrant white flowers in late Spring

Seedling Size

12" to 18"


General Description

The Black Cherry is a deciduous tree growing to 15-30 m tall with a trunk diameter of up to 70-120 cm, occasionally more. A mature Black Cherry can easily be identified in a forest by its very broken, dark grey to black bark, which has the appearance of very thick, burnt potato chips. However, for about the first decade or so of its life, the bark resembles that of a Birch, and is thin and striped.



Edible Berry. The fruit is suitable for making jam, cherry pies and has some use in flavoring liqueurs; they are also a popular flavoring for sodas and used in many ice creams. The black cherry is commonly used instead of sweet cherries (Prunus avium) in order to achieve a sharper taste. The timber is valuable, perhaps the premier cabinetry timber of the U.S., traded as "cherry". It is known for its strong red color and high price. The wood is also used for cooking and smoking foods, where it imparts a unique flavor. The foliage, particularly when wilted, contains cyanogenic glycosides which convert to hydrogen cyanide if eaten by animals. It is recommended that farmers remove any Black Cherry trees that fall in a field containing livestock, because the wilted leaves could poison the animals. Removal is not always practical though, because Black Cherries often grow in very large numbers on farms, taking advantage of the light brought about by mowing and grazing. Entire fencerows can be lined with this poisonous tree, making it difficult to monitor all the branches falling into the grazing area.

Black Cherry (bundle of 25)

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