Rosaceae (Rose) Family
Plant is an aromatic tree with a rounded straight trunk, oblong crown, many small white flowers and tiny black cherries; crushed foliage and bark have distinctive cherry-like odor and bitter taste. Bark is smooth dark gray with horizontal lines; becoming irregularly fissured and scaly with age. Preferred habitat is dry soils and at the edge of stream banks, including flood plains. Distribution is throughout the Escambia region.
The leaves are 2- to 5 inches long and up to 2 inches wide; widest at the middle; dark red glands at base; finely saw-toothed with curved or blunt teeth; slightly thickened; shiny dark green above; light green and hairy along midvein beneath. Turns yellow or reddish in autumn (see below).
The flowers are small; numerous; spreading and drooping along the stem and at the axis in bundles 4- to 6 inches long; 5 rounded white petals. Flowers occur in late spring on leafy twigs.
This widespread species is the largest and most important native cherry. The valuable wood is used for furniture, paneling, professional and scientific instruments, handles and toys. Wild cherry syrup obtained from the bark is used to flavor children's medicine, especially cough medicine.
Autumn leaf of Wild Black Cherry