Tennessee Smart Yards Native Plants

A comprehensive database of Tennessee native plants

Black Cherry, Wild Cherry

Black Cherry, Wild Cherry

Prunus serotina

Full to part sun; medium to moderately dry moisture level; grows best on fertile loam but tolerates sandy and gravelly soils; slightly acid to neutral pH.

50-80 feet height by 30-60 feet spread; white flowers in late May right after leaves appear; fruits are 3/8 inch in diameter, glossy, red berries, changing to black when ripe in late summer.

Growth Rate: Fast.

Maintenance: As with most cherries, it is susceptible to a number of disease and insect pests. Eastern Tent Caterpillar and Black Knot are common problems. This tree can be a troublesome pest in the garden because of weedy, aggressive habit of re-seeding.

Propagation: Seed germination code E

Native Region: Statewide

Small canopy tree that is the largest and most important of the native cherries, known for its beauty and quality of wood. Noted for its profuse spring bloom of showy, fragrant flowers in loose, pendulous spikes. Burgundy red and yellow fall foliage. Easy to grow. Produces fruit as young as 10 years of age but maximum production usually occurs from 30-100 years. Berries have a bitter-sweet and wine-like flavor and can be used for making jam and jelly. All parts except fruit are poisonous and should never be eaten. Cultivars available.

Very high wildlife value. Important food for numerous species of songbirds, game birds, and mammals including fox, bear, raccoon, opossum, squirrels and rabbits. Attracts butterflies. Larval host to a variety of butterflies and moths, including Eastern Tiger Swallowtail butterfly and Cecropia moth. Valuable species for native bees, bumblebees and honeybees.

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