Black Cherry

Prunus serotina

Family Rosaceae

Notable Features
Leaves: Leaves 2 to 6 inches (5-15 centimeters) long and lance shaped. They have pointed ends, a somewhat tapered base, and finely and singly toothed* edges. Teeth either blunt or curling under the leaf. Midrib* covered in small hairs on the underside.
Twigs: Twigs a dark reddish-brown, with true end buds. Buds* are small and hairless.
Bark: The bark is a scaly and somewhat peeling dark reddish-brown. Vertical cracks extend through the rough bark and expose a lighter, red underbark. Also punctuated with short horizontal lines and cracks.
Fruit/ Flowers: White, five-petaled flowers appear April through July in clusters sprouting from twigs. Each of the flowers becomes a dark red or black berry between the beginnings of July and October.
Size/ Shape: A large tree, which can grow up to 80 feet (24 meters) in height, with a trunk diameter of 2 to 3 feet (about 1 meter). Most speciemens on campus are young and small.

Location on Campus

(click for map)

Young, shrubby Black Cherry trees can be found in a few places in the Sachar Woods.

The blackish berries can be eaten as a fresh fruit right off the tree, or collected and turned into a delightful wild jam.

WARNING: The fresh seeds and wilted leaves contain cyanide and should not be consumed. However, cooking the seeds rids them of the cyanide, making it unnecessary to pit the cherries in the beginning processes of jam and jelly making.

Except where specifically noted, all text, photographs, and drawings copyright Chris Bersbach and Lisa Leombruni 2002. No part of this page may be reproduced without the express permission of the authors.