Medium to large sized tree that can reach heights of 60‘. Develops a long, straight trunk and narrow oblong crown. Part of the Rose Family. Also known as Wild Cherry, Rum Cherry, Cabinet and Whiskey Cherry. Largest of the U.S native cherries and the only one of commercial value. Inner bark yields hydrocyanic acid used in cough medicines and sore throat lozenges. Fruits are used for wine and jelly. Known for expensive cabinets and caskets. It is also an important source for many birds and wildlife.
Oblong to lance tipped 2-5” long. Unusual inward pointed teeth. Green and lustrous above, paler below.
When young – smooth red to gray-brown with gray horizontal lenticels. Young bark is smooth, turning dark gray with age and scales that turn outward and flake off, resembling potato chips.
Twigs are slender, reddish-brown. Bitter almond odor. Buds are very small, covered in glossy scales.
Dark red to purple, round almost black when ripe, 1/3” diameter, bitter-sweet taste. Matures in summer.
Small white flowers that hang in narrow clusters 4-6” long that appear in late spring.