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Rum Cherry

Prunus serotina

Please keep in mind that it is illegal to uproot a plant without the landowner's consent and care should be taken at all times not to damage wild plants. Wild plants should never be picked for pleasure and some plants are protected by law.
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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Rosaceae (Rose)
Also in this family:
Acute Leaf-lobed Lady's-mantle, Alpine Cinquefoil, Alpine Lady's-mantle, Ampfield Cotoneaster, Arran Service Tree, Arran Whitebeam, Barren Strawberry, Bastard Agrimony, Bastard Service Tree, Bearberry Cotoneaster, Bird Cherry, Blackthorn, Bloody Whitebeam, Bramble, Bristol Whitebeam, Broad-leaved Whitebeam, Broadtooth Lady's-mantle, Bronze Pirri-pirri-bur, Bullace Plum, Bullate Cotoneaster, Burnet Rose, Catacol Whitebeam, Caucasian Lady's-mantle, Cheddar Whitebeam, Cherry Laurel, Cherry Plum, Chinese Photinia, Cloudberry, Clustered Lady's-mantle, Common Agrimony, Common Hawthorn, Common Lady's-mantle, Common Medlar, Common Ninebark, Common Whitebeam, Crab Apple, Creeping Chinese Bramble, Creeping Cinquefoil, Crimean Lady's-mantle, Cultivated Apple, Cultivated Pear, Cut-leaved Blackberry, Damson, Devon Whitebeam, Dewberry, Diel's Cotoneaster, Dog Rose, Doward Whitebeam, Dropwort, Elm-leaved Bramble, English Whitebeam, Entire-leaved Cotoneaster, False Salmonberry, Field Rose, Firethorn, Fodder Burnet, Fragrant Agrimony, Franchet's Cotoneaster, Garden Lady's-mantle, Garden Strawberry, Giant Meadowsweet, Glaucous Dog Rose, Goatsbeard Spiraea, Gough's Rock Whitebeam, Great Burnet, Greengage Plum, Grey-leaved Whitebeam, Hairless Lady's-mantle, Hairy Lady's-mantle, Hautbois Strawberry, Himalayan Blackberry, Himalayan Cotoneaster, Himalayan Whitebeam, Hoary Cinquefoil, Hollyberry Cotoneaster, Hupeh Rowan, Hybrid Cinquefoil, Hybrid Geum, Irish Whitebeam, Japanese Cherry, Japanese Quince, Japanese Rose, Jew's Mallow, Juneberry, Lancaster Whitebeam, Late Cotoneaster, Least Lady's-mantle, Least Whitebeam, Leigh Woods Whitebeam, Ley's Whitebeam, Liljefor's Whitebeam, Littleleaf Cotoneaster, Llangollen Whitebeam, Llanthony Whitebeam, Lleyn Cotoneaster, Loganberry, Many-flowered Rose, Margaret's Whitebeam, Marsh Cinquefoil, Meadowsweet, Midland Hawthorn, Mougeot's Whitebeam, Mountain Ash, Mountain Avens, Mountain Sibbaldia, Moupin's Cotoneaster, No Parking Whitebeam, Ocean Spray, Orange Whitebeam, Pale Bridewort, Pale Lady's-mantle, Parsley Piert, Pirri-pirri-bur, Plymouth Pear, Portuguese Laurel, Purple-flowered Raspberry, Quince, Raspberry, Rock Cinquefoil, Rock Lady's-mantle, Rock Whitebeam, Round-leaved Dog Rose, Round-leaved Whitebeam, Russian Cinquefoil, Salad Burnet, Sargent's Rowan, Scannell's Whitebeam, Service Tree, Sharp-toothed Whitebeam, Sherard's Downy Rose, Shining Lady's-mantle, Ship Rock Whitebeam, Short-styled Rose, Shrubby Cinquefoil, Silver Lady's-mantle, Silverweed, Slender Parsley Piert, Slender-spined Bramble, Small-flowered Sweetbriar, Small-leaved Sweetbriar, Soft Downy Rose, Somerset Whitebeam, Sorbaria, Sour Cherry, Southern Downy Rose, Southern Lady's-mantle, Spineless Acaena, Spring Cinquefoil, St. Lucie's Cherry, Steeplebush, Stern's Cotoneaster, Stirton's Whitebeam, Stone Bramble, Sulphur Cinquefoil, Swedish Service Tree, Swedish Whitebeam, Sweet Briar, Symond's Yat Whitebeam, Tengyueh Cotoneaster, Thimbleberry, Thin-leaved Whitebeam, Tibetan Cotoneaster, Tormentil, Trailing Tormentil, Tree Cotoneaster, Trefoil Cinquefoil, Twin-cliffs Whitebeam, Two-spined Acaena, Wall Cotoneaster, Water Avens, Waterer's Cotoneaster, Waxy Lady's-mantle, Welsh Cotoneaster, Welsh Whitebeam, White Burnet, White's Whitebeam, White-stemmed Bramble, Wild Cherry, Wild Pear, Wild Plum, Wild Service Tree, Wild Strawberry, Willmott's Whitebeam, Willow-leaved Bridewort, Willow-leaved Cotoneaster, Wineberry, Wood Avens, Wye Whitebeam, Yellow-flowered Strawberry
Deciduous tree
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
16 metres tall
Gardens, heathland, hedgerows, riversides, roadsides, waterside, woodland.

White, 5 petals
Short, creamy white, pendant flower spikes. Pollinated by insects.
Red cherries, ripening to dark purple or black. The seeds ripen in September.
Narrowly oval leaves which alternate along the stems. Each leaf measures up to 5 inches long. The leaves have finely toothed margins. They turn yellow or red in autumn.
The flowers have a pleasant fragrance.
Other Names:
Black Cherry, Mountain Black Cherry, Wild Black Cherry, Wild Cherry.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Prunus serotina, also known as black cherry or wild cherry, is a species of flowering plant in the rose family. It is native to North America and is widely cultivated as an ornamental plant and for its edible fruit. The plant is known for its small, white flowers and dark, glossy leaves. It grows well in a variety of habitats, including forests, gardens, and along roadsides. Prunus serotina is a deciduous tree that can grow up to 30 meters in height. It is commonly cultivated for its attractive flowers and edible fruit, which are small and dark red in color. The tree is also used in traditional medicine to treat a variety of ailments.


Rum Cherry: The Unique Flavors of Prunus serotina

Cherry trees are known for their sweet and juicy fruit, but have you heard of rum cherry? Rum cherry, also known as Prunus serotina, is a species of wild cherry that is found in North America. Unlike sweet cherries, rum cherries are known for their unique, slightly bitter taste and their use in the production of whiskey, brandy, and other alcoholic beverages.

Prunus serotina is a deciduous tree that can grow up to 50 feet tall and is commonly found in the eastern and central United States. The tree is easily recognizable by its smooth gray bark and its leaves which are alternately arranged and have a glossy dark green appearance. The rum cherry tree blooms in the spring with small, white flowers that are followed by black cherries in the summer.

The cherries of Prunus serotina are slightly bitter, with a flavor that is often described as nutty or smoky. These cherries are not typically eaten fresh, but are instead used in the production of alcohol. In particular, rum cherry is a popular ingredient in the production of whiskey, brandy, and other distilled spirits. The cherries are usually mashed or distilled with the alcohol to impart their unique flavor.

In addition to its use in the production of alcohol, Prunus serotina has a number of other uses. The tree is commonly used for ornamental purposes due to its attractive bark and leaves, and it is also used for its wood, which is strong and durable. The wood is often used for furniture, flooring, and other building materials.

Prunus serotina is a hardy tree that is able to thrive in a variety of soil conditions, making it a popular choice for landscaping and agriculture. However, the tree can also be invasive and has been known to spread aggressively in some areas. As a result, it is important to be cautious when planting Prunus serotina, and to monitor its growth to ensure that it does not become a problem.

Prunus serotina, or rum cherry, is a unique and flavorful species of cherry that is widely used in the production of alcohol and has a number of other uses. With its attractive appearance and hardiness, this tree is a popular choice for landscaping and agriculture, but it is important to be cautious when planting and to monitor its growth to prevent it from becoming invasive.

Aside from its uses in alcohol production and ornamental purposes, Prunus serotina has also been found to have potential medicinal benefits. The bark and leaves of the tree have been used in traditional medicine to treat a variety of ailments, including headaches, fevers, and digestive problems. The cherries themselves have been found to have high levels of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, making them a potential source of natural remedies.

Another interesting fact about Prunus serotina is its wildlife value. The tree provides food and habitat for a variety of animals, including deer, birds, and small mammals. The cherries are a source of food for many species of birds, while the leaves and bark provide cover and nesting sites.

Despite its many benefits, Prunus serotina is considered an invasive species in some areas, particularly in Europe, where it has been introduced and has spread rapidly, outcompeting native vegetation. This has led to concerns about the impact of the tree on biodiversity and the ecosystem. As a result, it is important to be mindful of the potential consequences of planting Prunus serotina and to consider alternative species if it is not appropriate for the area.

Prunus serotina, or rum cherry, is a unique and versatile species of cherry tree that has a range of uses, from alcohol production to ornamental purposes, and even potential medicinal benefits. It provides important habitat for wildlife, but it is also considered an invasive species in some areas, making it important to be mindful of its potential consequences when planting.

Prunus serotina is a long-lived tree and can survive for several hundred years if left undisturbed. It is a slow-growing tree but can eventually reach maturity and become a dominant species in a forest. The tree is also able to withstand a variety of environmental conditions, including drought, frost, and disease, making it a hardy species.

One of the unique features of Prunus serotina is its bark, which is smooth and gray in color. The bark has a distinctive, diamond-shaped pattern, which is caused by the separation of the layers of the bark as the tree grows. This characteristic bark makes Prunus serotina easy to identify and is one of the reasons why it is often used for ornamental purposes.

The leaves of Prunus serotina are alternately arranged and are dark green in color. They are glossy and have a simple, ovate shape. The leaves are an important food source for many species of caterpillar and moths, and they provide important habitat for a variety of wildlife.

In addition to its use in the production of alcohol, Prunus serotina is also used in the production of a variety of other products, including furniture, flooring, and wood chips for fuel. The wood is strong and durable, making it an ideal choice for a variety of applications.

In conclusion, Prunus serotina is a unique and valuable species of cherry tree that has a range of uses and benefits. It is a long-lived, hardy species that is able to withstand a variety of environmental conditions and is an important source of food and habitat for wildlife. Its distinctive bark and leaves make it a popular choice for ornamental purposes, and its wood is strong and durable, making it ideal for a variety of other uses.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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