Wild Black Cherry.—Its Native Range.—Preferred Use of its Wood. — Its Ornamental Character. — Its Productiveness. — Manner of Preserving and Sowing its Seed.—The Wild Red Cherry.—Its Attainable Height and Size.—Its Qualities Contrasted with the Black Cherry.—Description and Qualities of its Wood.—Its Spontaneous Growth.—Its Special Property.—The Wild Cherry.—Its Medicinal Properties.
This tree is found all over the United States east of the Rocky Mountains. I have not seen much of it in the neighborhood of Iowa and Illinois, although the soil is eminently well fitted for it, but this is partly explained by the great prairie fires that have ravaged these districts and have destroyed the cherry-trees, while trees of the oak and hickory genus were not damaged, being much tougher and hardier. It was formerly much used in cabinet-work, and is preferred for many things to the black walnut. I have heard of some of the old houses of Virginia in which all the inside wood-work was made of cherry, and was fairly dark with age. A great many of the old fowling-pieces and pistols have highly polished cherry stocks that are not only things of beauty, but also good, serviceable weapons. The wood is not liable to warp, is of a light-red color, and darkens with age. It is a fine ornamental tree, but cannot be kept clear of caterpillars in open ground, becoming even more infested with these pests than apple-trees are. It is never attacked by the caterpillar when growing in a grove or in forests. The timber is not of value until it has attained considerable size. The fruit ripens in August; the seed should be thickly sown and the trees then thinned out, as they make excellent firewood. The seed should not be allowed to become dry, but be mixed with damp sand, and sown either in the fall or in the spring.