Rum Cherry Black Cherry
=Habitat and Range.=--In all sorts of soils and exposures; open places
and rich woods.
Nova Scotia to Lake Superior.
Maine,--not reported north of Oldtown (Penobscot county); frequent
throughout the other New England states.
South to Florida; west to North Dakota, Kansas, and Texas,
extending through Mexico, along the Pacific coast of Central
rica to Peru.
=Habit.=--Usually a medium-sized tree, 30-50 feet in height, with a
trunk diameter varying from 8 or 10 inches to 2 feet; attaining much
greater dimensions in the middle and southern states; branches few,
large, often tortuous, subdividing irregularly; head open, widest near
the base, rather ungraceful when naked, but very attractive when clothed
with bright green, polished foliage, profusely decked with white
flowers, or laden with drooping racemes of handsome black fruit.
=Bark.=--Bark of trunk deep reddish-brown and smooth in young trees, in
old trees very rough, separating into close, thick, irregular, blackish
scales; branches dark reddish-brown, marked with small oblong, raised
dots. Bitter to the taste.
=Winter Buds and Leaves.=--Buds ovate, 1/8 inch long, covered with
imbricated brown scales.
Leaves 2-5 inches long, about half as wide, dark green above and glossy
when full grown, paler below, turning in autumn to orange, deep red, or
pale yellow, firm, smooth on both sides, elliptical, oblong, or
lanceolate-oblong; finely serrate with short, incurved teeth; apex
sharp; base acute or roundish; meshes of veins minute; petioles 1/2 inch
long, with usually two or more glands near the base of the leaf;
stipules glandular-edged, falling as the leaf expands.
=Inflorescence.=--May to June. From new leafy shoots, in simple, loose
racemes, 4-5 inches long; flowers small; calyx with 5 short teeth
separated by shallow sinuses, persistent after the cherry falls; petals
5, spreading, white, obovate; stamens numerous; pistil one; style
=Fruit.=--September. Somewhat flattened vertically, 1/4 inch in
diameter; purplish-black, edible, slightly bitter.
=Horticultural Value.=--Hardy in New England; in rich soil in open
situations young trees grow very rapidly, old trees rather slowly.
Seldom used for ornamental purposes, but serves well as a nurse tree for
forest plantations, or where quick results and a luxurious foliage
effect is desired, on inland exposures or near the seacoast. The
branches are very liable to disfigurement by the black-knot and the
foliage by the tent-caterpillar. Large plants are seldom for sale, but
seedlings may be obtained in large quantities and at low prices. A
weeping horticultural form is occasionally offered. Propagated from
1. Winter buds.
2. Flowering branch.
3. Flower with part of perianth and stamens removed.
4. A petal.
5. Fruiting branch.
6. Mature leaf.
=Prunus Avium, L.=