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Wild Black Cherry (Prunus serotina)

Host Plant: Tiger Swallowtail and Red Spotted Purple Butterfly

Nectar Plant: many insects

Flower Color: white

Growth Habit: Deciduous tree that grows to 120 feet

Range in North America: Eastern North America, disjunct in northwest

Exposure: Partial or full sun

Hardiness: Zones 3-9

Soil Requirements: Medium moist soil

Rum Cherry, Black Cherry, Mountain Black Cherry, Choke Cherry

Wild black cherry (Prunus serotina), a member of the Rosaceae (Rose Family), is a tree that grows up to 80 feet high.  Cherries are some of the largest trees in the eastern forest, have a distinctive black bark, and are prized for their lumber.  Wild black cherry is also one of the most important trees for pollinators and has white flowers in the spring.  Cherry trees tend to be larger in northern areas and smaller in southern areas.

More about wild black cherry can be found on this blog post.

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail on flower – Meganmccarty, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Red Spotted Purple (Limenitis arthemis)

Red Spotted Purple Butterfly on foliage – Jacob Abel, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Coral Hairstreak (Satyrium titus)

Coral Hairstreak on flower – Great Smoky Mountains National Park from Gatlinburg, TN, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Spring Azure (Celastrina ladon)

Spring Azure on a leaf – ALAN SCHMIERER, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Viceroy (Limenitis archippus)

Viceroy Butterfly on a leaf – PiccoloNamek, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Numerous pollinators, including bees and flies get nectar from the flowers. A lot of animals like to eat the fruits (cherries).

Wild black cherry grows in a variety of habitats including moist floodplains, lower slopes, dry woods, and open areas and thickets (when young).  It is native to the mid-west and eastern North America, and the state of Washington.

The genus name is Latin for cherry or plum and the species name refers to the late flowering (Missouri Botanical Garden).


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