What it looks like

Its leaves are 5 to 15 centimetres long and are narrow and pointed at the end. They are shiny bright green on top and paler underneath. Bark on older black cherry trees is dark gray and very flaky.

Bunches of small white flowers grow on the black cherry tree in the spring after the first leaves have fully developed. The tree produces fruit in August or early September. The dark red cherries are 8-10mm across, and grow in clusters. They are edible, but are very bitter.

Where it is found

Black cherry is an important forest tree for wildlife because of its fruit. It can grow up to 22 metres tall when it grows in southern Ontario. Farther north, where temperatures are cooler and the growing season is shorter, it’s smaller and more like a shrub.

Planting Tips

  • Size: 22 metres tall, trunk 60 centimetres in diameter
  • Moisture: Tolerates different moisture levels
  • Shade: Intolerant - needs full sun
  • Soil: Grows in a variety of soils

Black cherry trees grow well in a variety of soils. Its blossoms will add colour to your garden, and the fruit may attract birds.

Did you know?

Black cherry is an important forest tree for wildlife because of its fruit.

The black cherry tree’s fruit grows in bunches of 6 to 12 cherries. Every 3 or 4 years, the tree grows a larger-than-normal crop of fruit.

Image credits

  • Tree: Institute of Natural Resource Sustainability
  • Leaf: Steven J. Baskauf, (Bioimages)
  • Bark: Daniel Tigner, Canadian Forest Tree Essences
  • Fruit: Daniel Tigner, Canadian Forest Tree Essences
Updated: October 06, 2021
Published: July 18, 2014