Wild Trees vs Ornamental

berlygurl

New User
Berly
I see Kwanzan or Yoshino cherry trees all over so they are easy to identify. But I'm not so good at finding wild cherry trees. Is there somewhere in NC where they are more prominent?
 

SabertoothBunny

SabertoothBunny
User
Kwanzan and Yoshino cherries are not native to NC. The other cherry trees you see everywhere growing at random are wild black cherry trees, also known as rum cherry trees. The little fruits are edible but the seeds are toxic to humans and the fruit has been used for flavoring rums historically or making sauces for pies and treats. The black cherry is native to NC where the others are not. These trees literally grow like weeds everywhere in NC.

Used to be a couple of larger black cherries in my yard until they broke in storms. My wife's chickens lived and died by those berries, it was crazy how much those birds loved and fought over them. Anyway, I hope that answers your question.
 

Gotcha6

Dennis
Staff member
Corporate Member
Wild cherries may be good for the chickens, but keep them away from the horses!!!
 

Gofor

Mark
Corporate Member
One of the reasons you may not have noticed wild black cherry is that the flowers are small and more in drupes than the ornamentals. Young trees (i.e. less than 5-10 years) have a distinctive bark that coarsens and roughens when they get older.

 

SabertoothBunny

SabertoothBunny
User
IIRC, the bark and leaves have enough cyanide to put down a horse, also.

I had 2 pygmy goats at the time the trees broke, they were in death battle royal with the chickens for those trees. The goats would just rip strips of bark off those trees and chomp away while the chickens dodged them getting the berries. It was fairly entertaining to watch.
 

Gofor

Mark
Corporate Member
I had 2 pygmy goats at the time the trees broke, they were in death battle royal with the chickens for those trees. The goats would just rip strips of bark off those trees and chomp away while the chickens dodged them getting the berries. It was fairly entertaining to watch.
Horses (and cattle) are much more susceptible than sheep or goats to cyanide poisoning from plants like cherry and chokeberry.

The biggest threat is new growth and leaves. They are tender, so attractive to foraging herbivores, but also have the highest amount of toxicity, because the plant is trying to protect the new growth from insects. The seeds are also high, because the plant doesn't want animals chewing them before they can sprout. With birds, which are one of the main propagators of the plants, the seeds go through their digestive tract intact allowing them to spread them far and wide.
 

Jim Wallace

jimwallacewoodturning.com
Jim
Corporate Member
The wilted leaves of the wild cherry are the most toxic. It doesn’t take much to kill a cow or a horse. Cows can eat the leaves green or dry, but not wilted.
 

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