Wild Cherry Tree
Wild Cherry - Prunus serotina
The seeds of the Black Cherry Tree germinate so easily that it enables them to invade lawns and forest borders quickly. They will grow from seedlings even in the underbrush. The soil needs to be moist and rich and contain various pH levels. Once established it can tolerate drought and poorer soils.
Black Cherry Tree Characteristics:
The leaves are of a more elongated shape than some other notable cherry trees. They release a very distinctive cherry-like aroma similar to cyanide when they are crushed.
There is 'Prunasin' in the healthy leaves. When the leaves are crushed the Prunasin is converted into HCN (hydrogen cyanide). This is nature's defense mechanism for fighting off herbivores.
In the Spring the Black Cherry Tree will produce masses of beautiful white flowers. It flowers a bit later compared to other native cherries. The flowers will also open a little later when standing in higher elevations.
When early Summer arrives the flowers will be replaced by clusters of small cherries. The birds are fully active in their gathering at this stage.
Black Cherry Tree Personality:
While some consider the Black Cherry to be potentially hazardous others can see the inner beauty it possesses. The fruit is good for pies and wine making, jellies and jams, brandies and liqueurs.
It feeds many animals and beautiful songbirds and is lovely to look at against the background.
The hazardous part is during Autumn when the leaves and twigs become potentially fatal. If eaten during this time the hydrocyanic acid that it carries within its inner bark and reddish plant tissue is a deadly poison known as cyanide.
The coloring of the wood is a reddish/brown and closely resembles Mahogany. Its hardness makes it very valuable for creating beautiful furniture, veneer, tool handles, cabinets, trim, and more. You may have taken Wild Cherry cough syrup derived from its inner bark extracts.