Prunus serotina
black cherry

Prunus serotina
Prunus serotina
Photo Courtesy Renee Brecht
Britton & Brown
Botanical name: Prunus serotina
Common name: black cherry
Group: dicot
Family: Rosaceae
Growth type: forb/herb
Duration: perennial
Origin: native
Plant height: 40 - 60'
Foliage: Bark is light to dark gray, resembling a birch when younger, and developing broken, squarish scaly plates with age. Leaves are shiny dark green, simple, alternate, with finely toothed margins. Leaves are odorous when crushed, due to the cyanide in the leaves. Twigs have a faint almond odor when snapped.
Flower: tiny white flowers on elongated drooping cluster (racemes)
Flowering time: late April to mid-May, either before or with the leaves
Habitat: thickets, along streams, in successional habitats, open disturbed ground, roadsides
Range in New Jersey: statewide only rarely introduced in the Pine barrens
Heritage ranking, if any: n/a
Misc. Black cherry is an early successional species, occuring in successional fields and borders of forests. It hosts a number of caterpillars.
Its fruit is edible and its wood is used in cabinetry.
Insect pollinated.