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American Black Cherry Hardwood Furniture Scott Jordan

American Black Cherry

American Black Cherry (Prunus serotina)

Prunus serotina, commonly called black cherry, wild black cherry, rum cherry, or mountain black cherry, is a deciduous woody plant species belonging to the genus Prunus.

The species is widespread and common in North America and South America. Black cherry is closely related to the chokecherry (Prunus virginiana); chokecherry, however, is classified as a shrub or small tree and has smaller, less glossy leaves.


Known as capolcuahuitl in Nahuatl (the source of the capuli epithet), it was an important food in pre-Columbian Mexico. The wood of Prunus serotina is also used for cooking and smoking foods, where it imparts a unique flavor. Prunus serotina timber is valuable; perhaps the premier cabinetry timber of the U.S., traded as “cherry”.

High quality cherry timber is known for its strong orange hues and high price. Low-quality wood, as well as the sapwood, can be more tan. Its density when dried is around 580 kg/m3 (36 lb/cu ft). Prunus serotina trees are sometimes planted ornamentally.

Prunus serotina range map 1.png

Natural range


Closeup of mature bark


April 17, 2019

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