THE WILD BLACK CHERRY.
P. serotina, Ehrh.
The wild black cherry or rum cherry (see page 166), is the substantial lumber tree of the genus, whose ponderous trunk furnishes cherry wood, vying with mahog any and rosewood in the esteem of the cabinet-maker, who uses cherry for veneer oftener than for solid furniture.
The drug trade depends upon this tree for a tonic de rived from its bark, roots, and fruit. Cherry brandies, cordials, and cherry bounce, that good old-fashioned home brewed beverage, are made from the heavy-clustered fruits that hang until late summer, turning black and losing their astringency when dead ripe.
From Ontario to Dakota, and south to Florida and Texas, this tree is found, reaching its best estate in moist, rich soil, but climbing mountain canyons at elevations of from five to seven thousand feet. A worthy shade and park tree, the black cherry is charmingly unconventional, carrying its mass of drooping foliage with the grace of a willow, its satiny brown bark curling at the edges of irregular plates like that of the cherry birch.