St. Augustine campus


Black Cherry

Prunus serotina

The Black Cherry is one of the most widely distributed hardwoods in north and central Florida, occurring in hammocks and along fence rows as far south as DeSoto County. Although it can reach a height of 100 feet with a trunk diameter of four to five feet in other parts of the country, it seldom grows that large in Florida.

Leaves of the Black Cherry are alternate, deciduous, dark green, shiny above, paler beneath, and from three to six inches long with fine teeth along the margins. They are narrowly elliptical and have pointed tips and rounded bases. The foliage is poisonous to cattle and other animals. This is especially true when the foliage is wilted.

The tree flowers in early spring. The drooping racemes are four to six inches long, with small, white flowers. The fruit is a smooth, black drupe containing a solitary stone, surrounded by a thin layer of edible, dark-purple flesh that ripens in early summer.

The gray-black bark flakes off on old trees exposing an inner bark that is reddish-brown.

Black Cherry wood is excellent for cabinetry, but in Florida few trees grow large enough for lumber.

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Black Cherry 1

Black Cherry 2

Black Cherry 3

Black Cherry flowers

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Tree information provided with permission of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services for more information visit