However, I've always known that the shape of the tree wasn't right, and the leaves just didn't seem to hang right either. Here's the whole, honkin' tree!
I'm sure you are asking, "Why don't you just go look at it, closer?" That answer is easy, but a little silly. It's not on our property, and I'm not too eager to run into that neighbor. But today, I decided to check it out. The "bugging" factor got too large.
Once I got close, it became obvious, really obvious, that it's a cherry tree. After that initial, general ID, it gets really mysterious. At that size, in this part of the country, it should be a wild black cherry. However... The picture below shows black cherry bark on the left, and this tree on the right.
Big difference! That "black potato chip" bark is a hallmark of Prunus serotina, the black cherry. This bark looks more like an ash tree, which is how I made that long distance ID.
Now, I have cherry leaves, cherry bark on the small twigs, an almond smell when the twigs are broken from the cyanide produced by cherries, and ash bark. What the hey?
I stopped by our black cherry tree and gathered some leaves from that one too. The picture below is the black cherry leaf on the left, and the mystery leaf on the right
First of all, the shape eliminates Pin Cherry, which has long narrow leaves.
You might think they look alike, but look again. The one on the right (the mystery) is obovate- that means it's widest above the middle. It could be Choke Cherry, but I've never seen one get bigger than a shrub, and even the books say it never gets taller than 20 feet. The other choice for obovate is the commercial Sweet Cherry. Again, I've never seen one this large, because orchard keepers replace them when the fruit production falls off.
This tree isn't going to give any clues with fruit. I've never seen it bloom- another reason I never thought of cherry.
Some tree species hybridize freely. Cherry isn't one of the promiscuous ones, but it could be possible.
At any rate, it's definitely CHERRY. I better go correct that older post!
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