''Prunus serotina''

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Latin Name

Prunus serotina

Common Names(s)

Black cherry, Wild black cherry, Rum cherry, Mountain black cherry

Plant Family


Plant Description (Height/Habit/General Characteristics)

A deciduous tree, rising 66-99 ft.

Prunus Serotina Tree.jpg

Rebmann, Pual. Entire. 2007.Volusia Co. Fl. Wild Florida Photo. Web. 9 Sep. 2014.

Leaf Description

The leaves of Black cherry are simple, 2-5 inches long, elliptically-ovate. The leaves are shiny and dark green above, paler below; usually yellowish brown. The leaf pattern is altered and margin is finely serrated. There are very small glands on petiole. The leaves are deciduous and change color in shades of yellow, orange and red during fall.

Leaf Photo

Prunus Serotina leaf.jpg

Rebmann, Pual. Immature berries. 2007.Volusia Co. Fl. Wild Florida Photo. Web. 9 Sep. 2014.

Flower Description

The white flowers are densely packed in 4-6 inches long raceme. Each flower consists of central pistil with a flattened stigma, 15-22 stamens, 5 green sepals and 5 white petals. The petals are longer than sepals and each flower is 0.5 inches in diameter. The blooming period is from April to June.

Prunus Serotina flower.jpg

R.W, Smith. 2011. Lenawee. MI. Wildflower Center Digital Library. Web. 9 Sep. 2014.

Fruit Description

The drupes are round and purple-black at maturity. Immature drupes are green. The drupes are 1/3 inch in diameter and each drupe contains a single smooth stone. The drupes mature in late summer and the flesh of the drupe is bitter-sweet.

Prunus Serotina Fruit.jpg

Cook, Will. 2007. Scotland Co. NC. Web 9 Sep.2014

Bark/Stem Description

Young black cherry bark is thin, smooth and striped resembling a birch. A mature bark is dark gray-black bark with upturned plates.

Prunus Serotina Bark.jpg

Rebmann, Pual. Large truck showing bark. 2007. Alachua Co. Fl. Wild Florida Photo. Web. 9 Sep. 2014.

Other Information

Black Cherry is adaptable and fast growing tree. It prefers dry conditions, full sunlight and fertile soil containing loam for growth.

Distinguishing Characteristics

A mature black cherry tree can easily be recognized in forest by its broken gray-black bark which has an appearance of burnt cornflakes.

Collection Location on GGC's Campus

The location of Prunus serotina is near B building parking lot at GGC's campus.


Forest edges, riversides, wet areas, dry areas, Pine Barrens, dry open woodlands, along railroads and swamps.

Historic Range

Eastern North America to Central America

Range Map

Prunus Serotina Range map.jpg

Cultural Information

The subterranean roots have been used as sedative, blood tonic, astringent, and an appetite stimulant. The chokecherry is used to relieve chest congestion and lung disorders.

This page was created by:

Mishal Jamil

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