Black cherry

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Black Cherry


A deciduous, fruit-bearing tree, Prunus serotina, native to North America. Black cherry has a dense, close-grain wood that polishes to a high gloss. The reddish-brown wood is used for musical instruments, furniture, cabinetry, interior trim, and paneling. Black cherry gum, a water-soluble carbohydrate, has been used as a medium for watercolor paints.

Black cherry Prunus serotina

Synonyms and Related Terms

Prunus serotina; cerezo americano, capulí (Esp.); ciliegio americano (It.); cabinet cherry; rum cherry; wild black cherry; black cherry gum


Black cherry gum, 1975 (HUAM, CCT S).TIF

Physical and Chemical Properties

  • Medium tree growing to 30 m with tall oblong crown.
  • Bark= smooth with narrow horizontal lenticels when young breaking into rough irregular plates with age
  • Leaves=alternate simple oblong (6-14 cm) with serrated edges.
  • Fruit=dark purple round drupe (1 cm) maturing in late summer.

Additional Images

Resources and Citations

  • R.J. Adrosko, Natural Dyes in the United States, Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, DC, 1968
  • G.S.Brady, Materials Handbook, McGraw-Hill Book Co., New York, 1971 Comment: p. 184
  • Ralph Mayer, A Dictionary of Art Terms and Techniques, Harper and Row Publishers, New York, 1969 (also 1945 printing)
  • F. H. Titmuss, Commercial Timbers of the World, The Technical Press Ltd., London, 1965
  • Dictionary of Building Preservation, Ward Bucher, ed., John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York City, 1996
  • Virginia Tech Dendrology website at (Accessed Dec. 9, 2005)
  • Random House, Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, Grammercy Book, New York, 1997
  • The American Heritage Dictionary or Encarta, via Microsoft Bookshelf 98, Microsoft Corp., 1998