The asian cherries are the cherries of which most people are familiar, and deservedly so since, with their unrivaled spring bloom, they are the stars of the genus Prunus. There is, however, an often overlooked cousin that is quite attractive and this is the Black cherry, or Prunus serotina. Admittedly it doesn't have the showiness of the oriental cherries but it does have better year-round interest as well as numerous practical assets.

Black cherry is one of the largest cherries in the world. It is capable of reaching almost a hundred feet in its native North American forests with an impressive crown and low branching that bends earthward. The leaves are a beautiful, shiny dark green that color yellow, red and orange in autumn. And the spring bloom is quite pretty and consists of racemes up to six inches long of small, white flowers with a soft and pleasing fragrance, something usually lacking in the asian cherries. And these flowers lead to the fruit which is produced is great abundance making it a must for a wild-life friendly garden, though the fruit is also prized by man. Although small, the Black cherries have a  flavor that is famous for rum and brandy and is the key ingredient in the cordial ‘Cherry Bounce’.  And Wild Cherry cough syrup is made from the fragrant, inner bark and, of course, the the wood has been a favorite of cabinet makers for centuries. And although native to North America, it is also popular in Europe. It's even used as a street tree in Belfast, Northern Ireland, despite the mess that the fruit might create.

Black cherry is a tough and highly adaptable tree that is not choosey about soil or exposure, though it is not drought tolerant. In North America it grows from southern Canada to the Gulf of Mexico which is an extensive range of climate. It will also grow throughout the UK and through much of Australia and New Zealand.

It may be hard to locate though as it won't be found at the discount nurseries but more likely will be at the select tree nurseries.

Black cherry


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