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Prunus serotina

Pronunciation: Proo-nus se-roh-tee-nuh
Family: Rosaceae (rose family)
Common Name: Wild cherry, rum cherry
Plant Type:
  • trees, shrubs
  • fruits, vegetables
Height to: 40-60'
USDA Hardiness Zones:
  • -20 to -30ºF ZONE 4
  • -10 to -20ºF ZONE 5
  • 0 to -10ºF ZONE 6
  • 10 to 0ºF ZONE 7
  • 20 to 10ºF ZONE 8
  • 30 to 20ºF ZONE 9
Sun Exposure:
  • full sun
Bloom Description: The fragrant tiny white flowers are borne abundantly in elongated drooping clusters 4-6 in (10. 2-15. 2 cm) long. They appear in early spring as the leaves are unfolding. In flower, the black cherry is very showy, and always abuzz with delighted insects. The cherries are dark red, almost black, about 0. 33 in (0. 8 cm) in diameter and ripen in early summer. They are thin skinned and juicy, but usually somewhat bitter tasting and each contains a single stone
Soil Type: Black cherry grows best on moist, fertile soils, but can be found in just about any forest, along any roadside, or in any abandoned field within its range. The seeds are spread by birds, so black cherry is often abundant under utility wires along highways, and along fence rows. Although it sometimes occurs in pure stands, black cherry is usually a component of mixed forests and weedy hedge rows.
Plant Perks:
  • Fall Foliage
  • Easy to Grow/Ideal for Children
Propagation: Black cherry seeds require 3-4 months of chilling before they will germinate. Selections are propagated from soft wood cuttings in spring.
Native to: Prunus serotina, the black cherry, is common throughout eastern north america, from southern canada to central florida, and west to minnesota and eastern texas. It also occurs naturally in higher elevations in new mexico and arizona, and south through mexico to guatemala.
Notes for Identification: Source: floridata - the black cherry is perfectly suited for the woodland, seminatural garden. It can be too messy in a more formal setting, dropping its abundant and juicy fruits in summer, then leaves in autumn, then giving rise to millions of seedlings the following spring. Black cherry produces flowers and fruits every year, but puts forth an especially abundant crop every 3 or 4 years. The leaves and inner bark of black cherry contain a cyanide compound that smells like almonds and was formerly used in cough medicines and liniments. The cherries are edible, if somewhat bitter, and are used for jelly and wine making and to flavor brandy. Brandy or rum flavored with black cherries is called "cherry bounce. " the cherries are eaten by all manner of wildlife and are especially relished by songbirds. Deer and rabbits eat the seedlings and saplings, and where abundant, these herbivores may prevent any cherry trees from growing up. The wood is reddish brown, close grained and very hard. It is used for furniture, veneer, tool handles, and has few rivals as a fine cabinet wood. warning: this plant is toxic. See our garden lists for more toxic plants.
Seed photo: 0
Seed Label: 0
Located in: Seed Photos
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