Black Cherry (Prunus serotina)

Black Cherry

Family: Rose (Rosaceae)

Common Names: Rum cherry

Cherry trees can live to the extreme ages of 150 to 200 years. Average tree height is 60 to 80 feet. Black cherry is the largest of the native cherries and the only one of commercial value. Most wood marketed as cherry is Black cherry. Large commercial grade trees are found in a limited range in northern Apalacia. In Nebraska the extremes of weather result in small, dense, often bizarrely twisted trees with exceptional grain. Its name has nothing to do with the color of its wood, but reflects the deep red, almost black, color of its fruit.

The heartwood of cherry varies from rich red to reddish brown and will darken with age and on exposure to light — often in a matter of days. The sapwood is creamy white although often stained to resemble the heartwood color. The wood has a fine uniform, straight grain, satiny, smooth texture, and may naturally contain brown pith flecks and small gum pockets. The wood is of medium density with good bending properties, it has low stiffness, medium strength and moderate shock resistance.

Black Cherry Cherry is easy to machine, nails and glues well and when sanded and stained, it produces an excellent smooth finish. It dries fairly quickly with moderately high shrinkage, but is dimensionally stable after kiln-drying. Click to Enlarge Image

Cherry wardrobe
Natural cherry heartwood wardrobe by M. T. Maxwell Furniture.


It is with Walnut and Mahogany one of the three primary woods used to make fine furniture and cabinetry. Also used in the manufacture of mouldings and millwork, paneling, strip flooring, doors, boat interiors, musical instruments, turnings and carvings, veneer and plywood.