Black Cherry

Prunus serotina Ehrh. – Rosaceae – rose family

Also called wild cherry, this species may be identified by its characteristic ‘burnt potato chip’ bark that has horizontal breaks in the cork called lenticels on the ‘chips.’  There is quite a bit of variation in bark form, with juvenile trees having fewer, proportionally longer ‘chips.’  Like many of its close relatives, the twigs of black cherry, when scratched, have the fragrance of maraschino cherries.

In Albion, this species blooms in late May-early June and litters the sidewalks and streets with its tiny white petals.  This is a rapid-growing, sun-loving tree, but often becomes hollow when older and gets broken by storms in the open areas where it thrives.  The wilted leaves of black cherry are toxic to cattle.  Care must be taken to remove recently-fallen branches from active pasture.

This species is the source of the wonderful cabinet and furniture wood that gets darker as it ages.