wild red cherry, fire cherry

Prunus pensylvanica Linnaeus fils

Pin cherry thrives early on burned, cutover, and abandoned land throughout the state, except in the higher Adirondacks. It is not a timber-producing species and its main value lies in its ability to cover wasteland and to protect the soil until larger trees can establish themselves and crowd it out. The wood is light, soft, close-grained, with light brown heartwood, and is seldom used.

Bark - bright, reddish brown in color, for the most part smooth, often slightly peeling around the trunk, marked with numerous long, pale breathing pores; in old trees somewhat roughened near the base.

Twigs - slender, smooth, shiny, bright red in color, a characteristic bitter almond taste, peculiar odor.

Winter buds - very small, reddish brown in color, characteristically clustered at the twig tip and sometimes along the sides; terminal bud present, usually smaller than the lateral buds around it.

Leaves - alternate, simple, 3 to 5 inches long, narrowly lanceolate as contrasted with the broader leaves of wild black cherry, sharp-pointed, with finely serrate margin.

Fruit - a round, juicy, one-seeded fruit, light red in color, about 1/4 inch in diameter, arrayed on long stems, 3 to 5 in a cluster, ripening in July. Birds often pick the ripe fruit.

Distinguishing features - smooth, reddish brown bark, with long horizontal pores; branches at almost right angles to trunk; fruit in long-stemmed clusters.

14a. Chokecherry (Prunus virginiana Linnaeus) is a bushy shrub, although sometimes a small tree, furnishing food for game in hedgerows. Its dark brown bark shows lighter streaks of gray.

[introduction] [the keys] [list of 50 trees] [making a tree collection]

[back to the homepage]