Japanese Cherry

Japanese Cherry
Japanese Cherry. Prunus serrulata.
Rosaceae, the rose family.

Plant: Small to medium-sized tree with smooth, reddish-brown bark having horizontal lenticles. White to pink flowers appear with the leaves in early spring, often covering the entire tree with blossoms. Widely planted as an ornamental.
Flowers: White to pink, with five petals in the wild version, five sepals, and many stamens, 3/4"-1". Appearing in early spring with the leaves. The flowers occur in small clusters, usually 3-5, on fruiting spikes formed the previous year. There are a large number of ornamental cultivars, some with doubled petals, appearing almost rose-like.
Leaves: Alternate, ovate, with toothed margins and short petiols.
Fruit: A dark purple to black drupe, about 1/2" in diameter. Ornamental varieties often do not set fruit.
Blooming: March-April
Habitat: Old yards and parks, sometimes in brushy overgrowth.

Comments: Beautiful, early-spring blooming tree, widely planted as an ornamental. Naturalized in overgrown yards and parks, and sometimes seems to have propagated from seed despite the cultivated varieties rarely setting fruit. The fruit is edible, and highly attractive to birds on trees that set any quantity.

Where to find it: In the overgrown area along the slough that runs by the entrance road. It is unclear if these trees are left from an old ornamental planting or somehow seeded naturally.