Black Cherry Tree

Black Cherry – Prunus serotina

Black Cherry Tree

Black cherry flowering on May 26th near Chicago

Black cherry, the largest of the native cherries and the only one of commercial value, is found throughout the Eastern United States. It is also known as wild black cherry, rum cherry, and mountain black cherry. Large, high-quality trees suited for furniture wood or veneer are found in large numbers in a more restricted commercial range on the Allegheny Plateau of Pennsylvania, New York, and West Virginia. Smaller quantities of high-quality trees grow in scattered locations along the southern Appalachian Mountains and the upland areas of the Gulf Coastal Plain. Elsewhere, black cherry is often a small, poorly formed tree of relatively low commercial value, but important to wildlife for its fruit.

Japanese Bird Cherry flower raceme

Black cherry and its varieties grow under a wide range of climatic conditions, and it tolerates a wide variety of soils, providing the summer months are cool and moist. In Canada, black cherry grows at sea level, while in the Appalachians it grows at 5,000 feet or more. It is thought black cherry will move its range northward and upward in response to man-made global warming.

Black Cherry

Black cherry flowers are insect pollinated. Flies, beetles, and bees are among those so occupied. Late spring frosts may damage the flowers before they open, and frosts occasionally cause large numbers of newly set fruits to fall from the pedicels without maturing. Premature dropping of green fruits is also a problem in some years. The fruit is a one-seeded drupe about 10 min (0.38 in) in diameter with a bony stone or pit. The fruit is black when ripe. Songbirds distribute modest quantities of seeds in their droppings or by regurgitation. Omnivorous mammals, such as foxes and bears also distribute seeds in their droppings. Bird and mammal distribution often accounts for a surprising abundance of advance cherry seedlings in stands lacking cherry seed producers. All I know is robins love to crap black cherry seeds in my birdbath.

Tent caterpillars
Cherry is often infested with tent caterpillars in springtime.
Tent Caterpillar Tent
This tent was found on wild plum, Prunus americana
Black Cherry Bark

Black cherry bark has medicinal properties

Family Rosaceae – Rose Family; Fruit Trees
Containing Hawthorns, Apples, Pears, Cherries, Plums, Peach, Almond, Mountain-Ash and Whitebeam. Rosaceae is a large family of plants with about 3,000 species in ~100 genera. Crabapple and other fruit trees provide some of our most outstanding flowering ornamentals.

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