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Black Cherry
Prunus serotina

Aromatic, small-flowered, deciduous tree with a branchless trunk, up to 75' tall with a crown half its height. Largest member of the cherry trees. Widely sought for its rich brown wood. Produces tart, but edible fruit. Important food crop for birds and wildlife. Bark and roots contain hydrocyanic acid used in cough medicines for flavoring. White flower (1/2 inch), yellow fall color. Well suited for use as a flowering or shade tree. IT has wildlife value and can be used in woodland restoration, in upland buffers and for erosion control. This species has a low fire tolerance.

USDA symbol: PRSE2

General Information

Plant TypeTree
Height50 to 60 feet
Light ExposureSun, Part Sun, Shade
Soil MoistureDry
Bloom ColorWhite
Black Cherry (Black Cherry<div><em class="small">Prunus serotina</em></div>)
Photo credit: Minnesota Wildflowers (Click to enlarge)


Flooding / Inundation ToleranceModerate
General Resilience8
Salt ToleranceMedium
Stress ToleranceDrought Tolerant, General Disturbance

Pollinator Value: Very High

Bloom MonthsMay to June
Larval Host ofBees, Butterflies
Specific Pollinators HostedAndrena melanochroa, Satyrium titus
Pollinator BenefitInsect Pollinated, Provides Nectar, Supports Generalists

Project Planning

Project TypeBoulevard, Erosion Control, Restoration, Upland Buffer
Coefficient of Conservatism4
Herbivore SensitivityLow
Rate of SpreadSlow
Soil StabilizationDeep
Vegetative ReproductionClonal


CountyAitkin, Anoka, Becker, Beltrami, Benton, Blue Earth, Brown, Carver, Cass, Chisago, Clay, Clearwater, Crow Wing, Dakota, Dodge, Douglas, Faribault, Fillmore, Freeborn, Goodhue, Hennepin, Houston, Hubbard, Isanti, Itasca, Kanabec, Kandiyohi, Le Sueur, Mahnomen, McLeod, Meeker, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Mower, Nicollet, Norman, Olmsted, Otter Tail, Pennington, Pine, Polk, Pope, Ramsey, Rice, Scott, Sherburne, Sibley, Stearns, Steele, Todd, Wabasha, Wadena, Waseca, Washington, Watonwan, Winona, Wright
EcoregionDriftless Area, Lake Agassiz Plain, North Central Hardwood Forests, Northern Glaciated Plains, Northern Lakes and Forests, Northern Minnesota Wetlands, Western Cornbelt Plains
Approximate Eco ProvinceEastern Broadleaf Forest, Laurentian Mixed Forest, Prairie Parkland, Tallgrass Aspen Parklands