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Prunus serotina var. eximia (Small) Little
Escarpment black cherry, Edwards Plateau black cherry
USDA Symbol: PRSEE
USDA Native Status: Native to U.S.
Escarpment Black Cherry is a distinct and isolated geographic variety of Black Cherry (Prunus serotina) found only in the calcareous soils of central Texas. It is distinguished physiologically from other P. serotina varieties by almost or entirely hairless leaves with more coarsely toothed margins, longer petioles, and, at up to 50 ft tall, a height intermediate between the larger Eastern Black Cherry (P. serotina var. serotina) and the smaller Southwestern varieties, virens and rufula.
Like the other varieties, it is prized for its attractive trunk and branches, showy spring blooms and summer fruits, and vivid yellow fall foliage. It is found primarily in wooded Hill Country canyons, slopes, and floodplains, in association with Ashe Juniper (Juniperus ashei), Escarpment Live Oak (Quercus fusiformis), Honey Mesquite (Prosopis glandulosa), Post Oak (Quercus stellata), and other woody plants. It requires full sun. Though the cherries are edible, the rest of the plant is poisonous if eaten, including the seeds.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Tree Leaf Retention: Deciduous Leaf Arrangement: Alternate Leaf Complexity: Simple Leaf Shape: Lanceolate Leaf Venation: Pinnate Leaf Pubescence: Glabrous Leaf Margin: Dentate Leaf Apex: Acuminate Leaf Base: Cuneate Leaf Texture:
Smooth Breeding System:
, Monoecious Inflorescence: Raceme Size Notes:
45-50 ft tall at most Leaf:
green, darker above, lighter below Autumn Foliage:
Flowers 7-10 mm wide in 6-15 cm long racemes
Dark red to purple-black 7-10 mm in diameter Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr
Bloom Notes: Blooms right after leaves emerge
TX Native Distribution:
Central Texas only, from Burnet and Williamson counties in the north to Comal and Medina counties in the south, west to Kimble and Kinney counties Native Habitat:
Woodlands, canyons, floodplains, and lower riparian slopes, usually in moist, well-drained soil. On
the Edwards Plateau in Juniper-Live Oak woods, Live Oak-Mesquite woods, and Post Oak woods. USDA Native Status: L48(N)
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Low , Medium
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
Soil pH: Alkaline (pH>7.2)
CaCO3 Tolerance: High
Drought Tolerance: Medium
Cold Tolerant: yes
Heat Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Rich, moist but well-drained, calcareous soils
Conditions Comments: Escarpment black cherry is known for the beauty and quality of its wood. The green leaves turn to yellow in the fall. It is easy to grow and will reward you with dangling, lace-like blossoms in the spring. Wildlife eat the fruits. Prefers moister sites and more of a mineral, well drained soil.
A showy tree
with handsome trunk and branches, attractive foliage, especially in fall, and ornamental blooms and fruit. Easy to grow. Use Wildlife: Fruit
consumed by numerous birds and mammals. Use Food:
Cherries eaten raw (must be pitted) and used in jellies, jams, pies, and as a flavoring extract in drinks and syrups. Use Medicinal:
used in cough syrups, sedatives, and tonics. Use Other:
Wood prized for furniture making and other things because of its lustrous, dark red tint. Warning:
All parts of Prunus
species except the fruits contain poisonous substances and should never be eaten. The bark,
leaves, and seeds of this species are especially toxic. POISONOUS PARTS: Wilted leaves, twigs (stems), seeds. Highly toxic to humans and herbivorous mammals. May be fatal if ingested. Symptoms include gasping, weakness, excitement, pupil dilation, spasms, convulsions, coma, respiratory failure. Toxic Principle: Cyanogenic glycoside, amygdalin, prussic acid. (Poisonous Plants of N.C.) Conspicuous Flowers:
Birds , Butterflies Larval Host:
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, viceroys, Columbia Silkmoth, Promethea moths, Small-eyed Sphinx Moth, Wild Cherry Sphinx Moth, Banded Tussock Moth, Spotted Apatelodes Nectar Source:
Hardwood Cuttings , Root Cuttings , Seeds , Semi-hardwood Cuttings , Softwood Cuttings Description:
Requires a period of after-ripening followed by a period of warm stratification followed by a period of cold stratification. Cuttings that work best are summer semi-hardwood. Seed Collection:
when it is filled out, firm, and its ripe color. Clean seeds from pulp and briefly air dry. (Seeds to be sown immediately in fall do not need drying.) Storage viability is maintained at 31-41 degrees. Seed Treatment:
For spring sowing, after-ripen for a period, then stratify seeds in moist sand for two weeks in a greenhouse, then cold stratify (36-41 degrees) for 60-90 days. Use a light mineral medium for seedlings. Plant well before high temperatures. Commercially Avail:
May go drought-deciduous in summer, so water some during dry spells to prevent this. Keep fallen leaves, twigs, and branches picked up if you have herbivorous animals, as all parts except the fruit
are highly toxic.
Mr. Smarty Plants says
Invasive, non-native Paulownia
May 03, 2006
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From the National Suppliers Directory
According to the inventory provided by Associate Suppliers, this plant is available at the following locations:
Hill Country Natives
- Leander, TX
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Record Modified: 2011-02-28
Research By: TWC Staff, GDG