Trees of Alabama and the Southeast

Lisa Samuelson, Ph.D.
School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences
Auburn University

Black Cherry
Prunus serotina
Rosaceae

Leaves are simple, alternate, deciduous, elliptical and finely toothed with brown hair on the midrib and a pair of glands on the petiole near the leaf base. Twigs are red-brown with a waxy bloom. Bark is black-red and smooth with horizontal lenticels when young, becoming flaky and scaly with age. Flowers are white. Fruit is a purple-black drupe. Form is up to 24 m (80 ft) in height and 1 m (3 ft) in diameter. Black cherry is found on a variety of sites in the east and central U.S. and is intolerant of shade. The lustrous red-brown wood is commercially valuable and used for furniture, cabinets and veneer. The fruit is a valuable wildlife food.

Photographs by Mike Hogan.

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