How to Identify a Black Cherry by the Leaf

The black cherry (prunus serotina) is one of the larger cherry trees that typically grows up to 80 feet high and thrives in many parts of the middle and eastern United States. Known for its attractive foliage, this tree bears clusters of white flowers before producing red cherries that eventually turn a dark, purplish black at maturity. If you want to identify a black cherry tree, you have the ability to do so by paying special attention to the leaves.

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Tree foliage helps identify varieties like the black cherry.

Step 1

Look at the black cherry leaf shape, margin and midrib, or center. The foliage is long and rounded with sharply pointed tips, serrated notches along the margins and a yellowish brown midrib.

Step 2

Inspect the colors of the black cherry foliage. Black cherry trees display shiny green colors during the spring and summer months, but then change to yellow and pinkish orange in the autumn.

Step 3

Watch to see if the leaves die back during the fall. The black cherry is deciduous, which means it loses its foliage during the colder season.

Step 4

Check the growth pattern of the leaves on the branches. Black cherry trees have an alternate leaf arrangement, which means one leaf grows per branch connecting point, or node.

Step 5

Measure the size of the leaves. Lengths of 2 inches to 5 inches long are common for black cherry trees.