Black Cherry
Prunus serotina

Location in Ontario
Black Cherry grows throughout the Deciduous Forest Region and northward. It grows well on a variety of soils.


Loads of maturing fruit, Norfolk County
  
Genus Prunus
Cherry trees have alternate simple leaves with toothed edges. They are monoecious with perfect flowers (male and female parts in the same flower). The flowers are white and beautiful. The fruit is a drupe with a single seed, often called a "stone". In Ontario, this genus includes Black Cherry, Pin Cherry and Choke Cherry.

In the Landscape
Black Cherry is the largest of the Ontario Cherry trees, but only medium in size, growing up to 22 metres. Trees can live to be 150 years old. Black Cherry is not often planted as a landscape tree due to its somewhat irregular form, and "messy" cherries. However, it does make an attractive tree with its beautiful white flowers and black fruit.

TREE FACT:  All parts of Black Cherry trees except the cherry flesh contain hydrocyanic acid which is poisonous.


Black Cherry, Norfolk County

Leaves
Black Cherry leaves are alternate and simple with
sharply curved teeth, and are among the first leaves to emerge in spring. Leaves turn yellow in the fall.
Bark
The bark is variable, often with location. Its squarish blocks that can be very dark, almost black, or dark gray. Young trees and branches are reddish brown with horizontal lenticels.
Flowers
Black Cherry is monoecious with perfect flowers (both male and female parts in the same flower). Flowers are small with 5 white petals, in clusters, and occurring with the leaves. Flowers appear in May and are pollinated by insects; flies, beetles and bees.
Seeds
Black Cherry has seeds which are found in bitter-tasting drupes. The black coloured fruit is an important food source for many birds and small mammals. Fruit is produced after 10 years of growth, at intervals of 1 to 5 years.
 
TREE FACT:
The inner bark of Black Cherry can be used to make a sedative or cough syrup.

Wood
Black Cherry wood is moderately heavy and hard. It is used for furniture and flooring.
Specific Gravity: 0.50
Janka Harndess: 950 lb
Wood Comparison Chart

TREE FACT: Black Cherry wood is a highly valued wood for its beautiful grain and reddish-brown colour. Few large Black Cherries remain today due to the value of the wood.


Row of Black Cherry trees, Norfolk County

Link to United States Forest Service Silvics Manual for Black Cherry.

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