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Native Plant of the Week: Wild Black Cherry

Updated: Jan 31, 2023

Family: Rosaceae


Name: Prunus serotina - Wild Cherry


Bloom Time: May - June


Flower: White


Fruit: Dark Purple


Fruit Time: August - September


Soil Condition: Dry, Moist


Light: Sun - Partial Sun


Height: 30-60' tall by 30-50' wide


Native Range: Eastern North America including Long Island


Zone: 2 - 8

Photos: Top Row: Flowers, Eastern Tiger Swallowtail laying her eggs on leaves, Bottom Row: Fall Color (all KMS Native Plants)


Known as the trash tree to those who do not know its importance to wildlife, the wild black cherry is a must-have for pollinators and birds. The flowers attract many different types of native pollinators and the fruit is devoured quickly by songbirds, sometimes even when still green. Its fall color is absolutely stunning in yellow, orange, and red with a touch of dark purple.


Maintenance: May be pruned to the ground every 2-3 years to keep as a shrub form. It is prone to many diseases but they are mostly cosmetic


Benefits: High wildlife value, nectar source, pollinators, host plant to many butterflies including the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, Red-spotted Purple, and Coral Hairstreak, songbirds eat the fruit, black walnut tolerant


Fun Facts: All parts of this tree are poisonous to humans and livestock except the flesh of the fruit. The bark was used by the Appalachians as a cough remedy, tonic, and sedative,


Companion Plants: Pinus strobus - Eastern White Pine, Chasmanthium laxum - Slender Oats, Carex pensylvanica - Oak Sedge, Quercus species - Oaks, Comptonia peregrina - Sweet Fern, Gaylussacia baccata - Black Huckleberry


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