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Prunus is a genus of trees and shrubs, which includes the plums, cherries, peaches, nectarines, apricots and almonds. Around 430 species are spread throughout the northern temperate regions of the globe. Many members of the genus are widely cultivated for fruit and ornament. The fruit from this genus are commonly called the stone fruit. Members of the genus can be deciduous or evergreen. A few species have spiny stems. The leaves are simple, alternate, usually lanceolate, unlobed, and often with nectaries on the leaf stalk. The flowers are usually white to pink, sometimes red, with five petals and five sepals. There are numerous stamens. Flowers are borne singly, or in umbels of two to six or sometimes more on racemes. The fruit is a fleshy drupe (a "prune") with a single relatively large, hard-coated seed (a "stone").

Prunus serotina, commonly called black cherry, wild black cherry, rum cherry, or mountain black cherry, is a woody plant species belonging to the genus Prunus. This cherry is native to eastern North America: from eastern Canada through southern Quebec and Ontario; south through the eastern United States to Texas and central Florida; with disjunct populations in Arizona and New Mexico; and in the mountains of Mexico and Guatemala. The black cherry is a species in the subgenus Padus and is a deciduous tree (except on the extreme southern part of its range at lower elevations where it sometimes is semi-evergeen), growing to 15–30 metres (49–98 ft) tall with a trunk diameter of up to 70–120 centimetres (28–47 in), occasionally more, with flowers in racemes. Black cherries in the Northeastern US may exceed 70 feet in height, but in the Southwest and montane areas are typically much shorter.

A mature black cherry can easily be identified in a forest by its very broken, dark grey to black bark, which has the appearance of very thick, burnt cornflakes. However, for about the first decade or so of its life, the bark is thin, smooth, and striped, resembling that of a birch. It can also quickly be identified by its long, shiny leaves resembling those of a sourwood, and by an almond-like odor released when a young twig is scratched and held close to the nose.




Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prunus_serotina