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Black cherry

Prunus serotina
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Foto: Donald Cameron, Go Botany
Foto: Gil Wojciech, Polish Forest Research Institute,
Foto: arhiv Zavoda Symbiosis

NATIVE RANGE: North America

PATHWAYS: horticulture, silviculture



DESCRIPTION: Deciduous tree or bush with a round crown and dense pendulous branches. Leaves do not emerge until late spring; in autumn they colour late, and fall from trees just before winter. Bark on young trees smooth, on older trees black-brown with deep furrows breaking into rough plates. Leaves are leathery, dark green and lustrous above; below paler, with dense orange-white pubescence along mid-rib. Leaf apex acuminate, leaf margin crenate. Flowers small, white, borne in narrow, hanging clusters. Fruits round drupes, initially reddish, and purplish-black when ripe.

HABITAT: Forest margins and open forests, in open wetlands, heathlands, dry grassland and dunes.

STATUS: Widespread and common in Western Europe, where it was extensively planted in the past. Occurs locally elsewhere in Europe. In Slovenia the status is not well known. In several places naturalized with invasive tendencies.

SIMILAR SPECIES: Bird cherry (Prunus padus) grows to 14 m high. Bark dull grey and does not crack or peel off. Leaf margins serrated, leaves dull green, thin and glabrous except for a few tufts of hairs at vein axils. Flower clusters are very similar to those of black cherry.

SOURCE: Field Guide to Invasive Alien Species in European Forests

Drawings: Paul Veenvliet
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