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Rum Cherry (Black Cherry) Prunus serotina (Rosaceae) HEIGHT to 22m. A spreading deciduous tree with a stout trunk. BARK Greyish, peeling away in strips and fissured in older trees; a strange, bitter smell is released if the bark is damaged. BRANCHES Spreading and dense, the outer extremes sometimes weeping. LEAVES Larger than those of Bird Cherry at up to 14cm long, shiny above and with fine forward-pointing teeth on the margin; the midrib on the underside has patches of hairs along it, which help separate this species from other similar cherries. REPRODUCTIVE PARTS The flowers are very similar to those of Bird Cherry, but the spike may contain fewer than 30 flowers, the pedicels are shorter and the white petals are toothed at the margins. The black fruits contain a bitter-tasting flesh and a rounded smooth stone. STATUS AND DISTRIBUTION A native of N America, planted for timber and ornament in much of Europe, including Britain and Ireland, and naturalised in many places, including S England.