The Black Cherry is a deciduous tree growing to 15-30 m tall with a trunk diameter of up to 70-120 cm, occasionally more. The leaves are 6-14 cm long, with a serrated margin. The flowers are small (10-15 mm diameter), with five white petals and about 20 stamens, and are fragrant; there are around 40 flowers on each raceme. The fruit is a drupe, 1 cm diameter, green to red at first, ripening black; it is usually astringent and bitter when eaten fresh, but also somewhat sweet. It is a moderately long-lived tree, with ages of up to 258 years known.
It prefers deep, moist, rich, well-drained soils of variable pH under full sun to partial sun conditions, but tolerates relatively dry, poor soils as well, with a reduced growth rate. It grows in zones 3 to 9.
The fruit is readily eaten by birds. Every Spring thousands of Eastern Tent caterpillars build nests and eat the leaves of these trees, but the trees do not die, the leaves grow back once the caterpillars become moths. Fruit edible. Makes excellent jams, preserves. Put on cereal....Do not eat seeds. may be dried and frozen for later use as a trail food.