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The True Value of the Black Cherry Tree

Making It Grow Radio Minute
SC Public Radio

Prunus serotina, black cherry, is our most important and largest native cherry tree in North America. It has a huge range, from the middle of Canada to Florida, over to Texas and Arizona and even with a subspecies that extends into Mexico and parts of Central America. Its importance in the forestry/timber industry is based on the beauty of its wood, which has that deep red color so beloved by furniture makers and for those fortunate enough to use it for paneling or flooring. In the south, a fungal disease ruins its timber value, but to support wildlife, this tree should be tops on your list. Not only do the flowers attract a huge variety of pollinators -- both native and the imported European honey bee -- but birds, Lepidopteran larva, and numerous mammals consume the fruits and/or leaves.

Amanda McNulty is a Clemson University Extension Horticulture agent and the host of South Carolina ETV’s Making It Grow! gardening program. She studied horticulture at Clemson University as a non-traditional student. “I’m so fortunate that my early attempts at getting a degree got side tracked as I’m a lot better at getting dirty in the garden than practicing diplomacy!” McNulty also studied at South Carolina State University and earned a graduate degree in teaching there.