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Updated by Erika Yigzaw on Nov 21, 2020
Erika Yigzaw Erika Yigzaw
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Wild Cherry Prunus serotina Resources




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Cherry, Wild

Providing botanical, folk-lore and herbal information, plus organic herbs, and herbal products.

Prunus Virginiana (U. S. P.)—Wild Cherry.

Preparations: Infusion of Wild Cherry - Extract of Wild Cherry - Fluid Extract of Wild Cherry - Syrup of Wild Cherry - Wine of Wild Cherry - Ferrated Wine of Wild Cherry
Related entries: Prunus (U. S. P.)—Prune - Amygdalus Persica.—Peach Tree - Amygdala.—Almond - Laurocerasi Folia.—Cherry-Laurel Leaves - Acidum Hydrocyanicum Dilutum (U. S. P.)—Diluted Hydrocyanic Acid


Black cherry (Prunus serotina), the largest of the native
cherries and the only one of commercial value, is found
throughout the Eastern United States. It is also known as wild
black cherry, rum cherry, and mountain black cherry. Large,
high-quality trees suited for furniture wood or veneer are found
in large numbers in a more restricted commercial range on the
Allegheny Plateau of Pennsylvania, New York, and West Virginia
(36,44). Smaller quantities of high-quality trees grow in
scattered locations along the southern Appalachian Mountains and
the upland areas of the Gulf Coastal Plain. Elsewhere, black
cherry is often a small, poorly formed tree of relatively low
commercial value, but important to wildlife for its fruit.

Black Cherry (Prunus serotina)

Black Cherry is a common, weedy, early-successional tree. The leaves release the distinctive cherry-like aroma of cyanide when crushed. Healthy leaves contain prunasin, which is converted to hydrogen cyanide (HCN) when the leaves are crushed. This highly toxic substance acts as a defense mechanism against herbivores.

Prunus serotina (Scientific name)

Black cherry (Prunus serotina) is a native tree found in eastern Canada. It is occasionally cultivated as an ornamental. The plant contains chemicals that can release hydrogen cyanide in animals. All types of animals can be poisoned by ingesting leaves and twigs. There have been claims of children dying after ingesting an excessive number of seeds, found in the berries. Cyanide poisoning interferes with respiration and blood circulation; death is often swift (Kingsbury 1964, Cheeke 1983, Cheeke and Schull 1985).

Wild Cherry Effectiveness, Safety, and Drug Interactions on RxList

Wild Cherry information based on scientific evidence includes description, drug interactions, safety concerns, and effectiveness.