Black cherry is a sun-loving tree (to 25m) or shrub that is found in North America in the eastern and midwest US states and adjacent Canada (ON, QE, NB, NS) (USDA 2011
). It has also been introduced to British Columbia, where it has escaped and is occasionally found in "mesic to moist clearings, forest edges and open forest in the lowland zone" (Douglas et al. 1999). It has been reported from the Vancouver, Richmond and Squamish areas. There are two collections from wild plants in the UBC Herbarium from Porteau Cove (Squamish area) (1995) and Richmond (1996).
In rich, moist soils this species can become a dominant tree (e.g. in the Allegheny Plateau of Pennsylvania, New York, and West Virginia), but in poorer soils it is usually a small tree or shrub. In Ontario, for example, both large trees (e.g. southwestern Ontario) and small shrubs (e.g. Simcoe County) are found. It can reproduce from sprouts.
The leaves on black cherry are long, tapering, with a sharp-pointed tip. Bark on older trees is scaly and distinctive. Flowering occurs in our region from mid-May to mid-June; the white solitary flowers appear in racemes after leaf development. Pollination is by insects and the black fruits (cherries) are dispersed by birds and mammals.
In the 17th century, black cherry was introduced to Europe where it is now "widely distributed and frequent in much of Germany, Poland and Denmark" and is considered an invasive species (Starfinger 2010).