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Black Cherry

Latin: Prunus serotina

Family: Rosaceae

Description - A mature black cherry tree can grow to a height of 15-24 metres with a spread of 10 m. Narrowing rounded with long unbranched trunk in the forest contrasting with spreading oval crown on a short trunk when in the open.

 

Leaf - simple, alternate, waxy shiny, stout, and leathery, dark green top while paler underside. Narrowly oval, sharp pointed finely and bluntly toothed. Brown hairs on each side of midrib near leaf base. The leaves produce prussic acid which becomes a deadly poison when mixed with stomach enzymes and is dangerous to both humans and animals.

 

Bark - young trees have smooth, reddish brown with grey horizontal lines that looks similar to birch. Mature trees have bark which is silvery grey black, breaking into small plates that look like thick, burnt cornflakes.

 

Bud - 3-4 mm buds spiral around twig, dark reddish brown in colour.

 

Twig - reddish brown in colour. Scratch the bark of a young twig and smell an almond-like odour.

 

Flower - white flower made up of 5 rounded petals appear in clusters of 20 or more flowers in a 10-15 cm spray which is at the end of a 1 or 2 leaved branch.

 

Fruit - 8-10 mm nearly black, single pitted, cherry. Star shaped attachment lower whorl of flower parts at the base of the fruit (not found in other varieties of cherry).

 

Wildlife Value - cherries are food for various birds and mammals.

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48075 Jamestown Line R.R. #2, Aylmer ON N5H 2R2