Virginia Tech Dendrology

bitter cherry Rosaceae Prunus emarginata (Douglas ex Hook.) D. Dietr. Listen to the Latin symbol: PREM
Leaf: Alternate, simple, deciduous, oblong to oval, from 1 to 3 inches long, serrated margins, small glands on basal serrations or petiole, dark green above and paler below.
Flower: Perfect, small, white, borne in a loose, flat-topped cluster; appearing in late spring to early summer.
Fruit: A bright red, juicy, drupe (cherry) about 1/4 inch in diameter, edible but bitter.
Twig: Round and slender, dark reddish brown and smooth; spur shoots common on older twigs.
Bark: Thin, dark reddish brown or bronze, tending to break and curl cross-wise; has prominent horizontal lenticels.
Form: A small tree or shrub to 50 feet tall and 18 inches in diameter, with an oblong crown.
Looks like: choke cherry - Klamath plum - Oregon crabapple
leaf flower fruit twig bark form1 map
Additional Range Information: Prunus emarginata is native to North America. Range may be expanded by planting. See states reporting bitter cherry.
More Information: Fall Color
External Links: USDAFS Additional Silvics - USDA Plants Database
All material © 2017 Virginia Tech Dept. of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation; Photos and text by: John Seiler, Edward Jensen, Alex Niemiera, and John Peterson