Fragrant and beautiful, cherry trees present a distinctive bark that often contains horizontal slashes called "lenticels." Depending on the type and age of cherry tree, the bark may be smooth and light grey, ragged and greyish brown, or charcoal. Some cherry trees present a youthful bark covering that appears purple and smooth, ageing to a mottled grey patina in mature trees.
Black cherry ("Prunus serotina") trees bear bark that changes dramatically over time. Young black cherry trees have a thin bark marked with narrow lenticels. If you rub the bark on a young black cherry twig, you'll detect an almond fragrance.
As the black cherry grows into its teens, its bark remains relatively smooth, similar in texture to a young birch. The thickened bark of an ageing black cherry is a mottled charcoal colour with many uneven breaks.
The Yoshino cherry ("Prunus x yedoensis") is also known as the Japanese flowering cherry. It is a quick-growing, but short-lived, tree. The Yoshino cherry is a luscious spring bloomer with masses of flowers that cling to thin limbs in stark, artistic contrast to a dark, shiny bark. The smooth Yoshino cherry bark, like that of its cousin, the black cherry, contains characteristic horizontal lenticels, which appear large and prominent on this flowering cherry's reddish-grey skin.
Sweet Wild Cherry
The sweet wild cherry tree's botanical name is "Prunus avium" -- translated from the Latin to mean "bird cherry." As youngsters, these trees grow straight and upright, with a smooth, dark bark that's more purple and brown than the typical grey of other common family members. The sweet wild cherry tree bark exhibits the same horizontal lenticels found on most of the other cherry trees. These marks grow from a pale brown on immature trees to a deep black on old trees.
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- USDA Plant Profile: Conservation Plant Characteristics: Black Cherry
- Natural Resources Conservation Service: Plants Database
- University of Florida: IFAS Extension: How To Identify A Tree
- Central Park NYC: Central Park Conservancy: Yoshino Cherry
- British Trees Online: Wild Cherry
- Arbor Day Foundation: The Tree Guide: Cherry