Trees of Wisconsin
Prunus serotina Ehrh.
serotina has alternate, simple leaves with toothed margins. Leaf
shape and size are variable, but the leaves have a very conspicuous band of brownish hairs along the midrib on the lower surface of mature leaves (hairs are whitish in young leaves, but still form the elongate strip along midrib). The bark is dark gray or blackish and has a distinctive
curling pattern of the plates formed between fissures. Younger
bark is smooth with conspicuous, elongate, horizontal lenticels.
The white petaled flowers open in May (the latest of our cherries) and
are born along a long central axis (forming a raceme). The cherries are
very dark in color and they are edible.
Prunus serotina grows in a variety of upland habitats and in some forests can grow to be a large tree. It is found throughout the state, but is sparsely distributed in the northwestern portion. The wood is highly valued for furniture.