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Wild Black Cherry

Prunus serotina

Seneca Name


Common Name

"Wild Cherry," "Rum Cherry"


Earth is Our Mother Trail

GPS Coordinates

N 42°57.854' W077°24.995'

The wild black cherry is a medium sized tree native to the eastern half of America that is a prized lumber source. The tree also supplies an edible fruit and an inner bark that was prized in medicine making. The black cherry is a tall tree (80') with an oblong crown and it has a distinctive "cherrylike odor" in its bark and crushed foliage. The leaves are dark-green, elliptical (2-5" long, 1.25-2" wide) and are finely saw-toothed with curved or blunt teeth. The leaves turn a yellow or reddish color in the Fall. The bark is often a distinguishing charateristic of this tree - it is smooth and dark gray with horizontal lines when younger while the mature bark is scaly and irregular with the reddish-brown inner bark exposed. Like all fruit trees, the black cherry has a Spring display of flowers - racemes of small 5-petaled white blossoms followed by blackish bitter, edible fruits in the Summer. This is the largest of all native cherry trees and has been a valuable lumber source. The black cherry is also a well-known source of herbal medicine - cough medicines were made from the bark of the tree and the "cherry" flavor that is a popular cough medicine flavor to this day hints at this past.

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