black cherry
Prunus serotina

Black cherry is one of the most prized hardwoods of eastern and central U.S. forests. It grows best and is most commercially valuable along the Allegheny plateau of Pennsylvania, New York, and West Virginia, and in scattered pockets in the southern Appalachian mountains and uplands of the Gulf coastal plain.

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Light Fall Color Water
Growth   Size

Timber Value

      Black cherry is used for veneer, furniture, cabinets, paneling, interior trim, handles, crafts, toys, scientific instruments, etc.


Wildlife Value
      Many birds and mammals eat black cherry fruits. Deer, rabbits, and hares browse foliage and stems.
          Attracts: turkeys, many other birds, squirrels, mice, moles, deer, rabbits, hares

Regeneration methods
      Clearcutting works if a considerable amount of black cherry undergrowth already exists. Shelterwoods are useful when young black cherries are not prevalent and need to be encouraged.

Important Problems Early Detection tips
black knot rough black swelling on twigs, branches, trunk

Fun facts
Black cherry leaves, twigs, and bark contain a cyanide precurser that is released whenever plant tissue is damaged (e.g., wilted). Because of this black cherry trees are potentially lethal to livestock. Black cherry trees grow the largest of the North American cherries. The fruits can be made into jams and jellies. The wood is a rich orange-brown and prized for furniture making.
Prunus: Latin name for plum trees from Greek "prunos" (plum or cherry) / serotina: Latin "serus" (late) - late maturing fruit
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2004 Virginia Tech Forestry Department, all rights reserved. Text, images, and programming by: Dr. Jeff Kirwan, Dr. John R. Seiler, John A. Peterson, Edward C. Jensen, Guy Phillips, or Andrew S. Meeks.

questions, comments, and criticisms: email John.Peterson@vt.edu