Black Cherry (Prunus serotina)

Black Cherry


This is our native wild black cherry.

I find the flavor to be somewhat bitter, but also sweet … a rich flavor really.


Black cherry is a very common tree in eastern US.

In spring , the flowers...

black cherry blossoms
black cherry flowers

Black cherry flowers (and the fruits) 

grow in elongated clusters called racemes.

Then, the fruit...

black cherry fruit
wild black cherries

See the resemblance to the flower cluster?

The fruit  is about 1/3 inch across with a thin layer of flesh around a single hard pit. 

Only the flesh is edible. So spit out the pit, just like with ordinary cherries.

A look at the leaf edges


Black cherry leaves are finely serrated along the edges.

The leaf underside


Look at the back of a few leaves. On older leaves, there will be hairs along the mid-rib near the stem.  

The hairs will be light, turning a darker rust or brown color later on. 

Search the larger leaves on the tree. If it’s black cherry, you’ll find the hairs. 

Burnt cornflakes


Long ago a friend told me that black cherry bark looks like “burnt cornflakes” and that’s how I’ve identified it ever since!

The bark on older trees breaks up into these small, rough plates.  Really helps in identification.