November 24, 2017

3 Cheers for Cherry

Developing fruit of black cherry

Faith Pineo Photo | Developing fruit of black cherry

Little surpasses a black cherry tree in full bloom, the 5-inch-long racemes coming along before the leaves are half done. The effect is stunning, with the delicate flowers enveloping the entire tree in a misty aura and becoming a heavenly haven for pollinators of many ilk. The results in a good year are those same racemes dripping with black cherries, definitely a favorite of birds and other wildlife. Prunus serotina grows through all but the extreme north of Maine. According to “Forest Trees of Maine,” black cherry “is one of the most valuable timber trees, although not abundant in sufficient size.” The book says the wood is “rather hard” and used in a variety of products, including furniture and cabinetry, veneer and plywood. As a firewood, it has a high heat value.

According to the Maine Register of Big Trees, the record black cherry in Maine was documented in 2006 in Falmouth, coming in at 52 feet tall with a crown spread of 60 feet. The circumference was 148 inches.