Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Prunus Serotina - Black Cherry or Wild Cherry


There is a lot of interest on this blog about the Prunus Serotina -Black Cherry, sometimes called Wild Cherry tree and how to identify it. Prunus Serotina is poisonous to animals when eaten when the leaves are wilted.  So when looking for a new area to put animals it's always wise to check carefully for these.   Where I am they are all over the place so they can be a nuisance.  

These are 3 tall black cherries in my backyard along the fence.  Scraggly and not very attractive.  

 This is a close up of the bark from one of the above black cherries.  Notice the bark on the trunk and on the branch sticking out on the right.

This is the Black Cherry in my front yard that was younger and much more attractive.  It's since been cut down because of the proximity to where the goats are.  You can see it was just loaded with berries when this photo was taken.

Here's a close-up of it full of berries.  It's also a fairly good picture of the leaves.

This is the bark from the tree in the front that was cut down.  It doesn't look all that similar to the picture of the trunk of the tall trees out back but it's the same tree.  They are both trunks of black cherries - Prunus Serotina

This was a limb from the one we cut down.  This is also how the trunk of a very young tree looks.  I think in real life they are tinged a bit more reddish.  Notice all the little horizontal lines on the bark.  Those are called lenticels and very prolific on young saplings.

This is a bit larger limb from the one cut down.  If you look at the picture of the first trunk above you'll see the limb sticky out on the right is marked just like this one.  And you can see all the lenticels still just like on the saplings

I suppose this shows how much the bark can change as a tree changes from a sapling to a young tree to an old tree.   You can see and learn the differences but it takes an observant eye. 

The leaves on the other hand stay fairly consistent.   They may be smaller or larger in size as the picture shows but the shape, color and characteristic serrulate (serrated) and incurved edges stay consistent from the saplings to the old trees.  These different sized leaves came from the same tree.

The berries are nice and I've made jelly from it that was amazing but I have no idea which recipe I used.  If I wanted to make some again I would modify another jelly recipe with somewhat consistent fruit to use because it was practically impossible to find a recipe specifically for black cherries.

I've also frozen some of the juice and used that for syrups and to flavor homemade ice cream.  The jelly, syrup and flavoring for ice cream were all delicious and well worth the trouble of collecting all those tiny little berries.   It seem like we went out every day with a ladder for 4 or 5 days collecting more to get enough to make.  The ones in the back are too tall to do that with and now we don't have the one in front either.  


1 comment:

  1. Are the wild black cherries good to eat right off the tree? I have one growing in my back yard and just found out what it is. I know I am going to have to cut it down as it is growing under cable lines and they will make me take it down, but right now it has berries all over it. Not quite ripe enough yet, but it is loaded.


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