Black Cherry

Prunus serotina

Family: Rosaceae

Type of weed:

Priority Weed Local Priority Weed. (See more weeds of the class.)

Flowering Months: , , , ,


A deciduous small tree or large shrub, 8–16m tall.

The leaves are alternate, elliptic in shape, taper-pointed, with fine-toothed margins, sometimes brown-hairy beneath.

The inflorescence hangs like a pendant, with many small heavily scented white flowers with five petals. It flowers spring to early summer.

The fruit is a shiny black, small drupe with a large seed.


It is spread by birds that eat the fruit and in dumped garden waste.

Impact on bushland

Bird Cherry can form dense stands and replaces and crowds out native plants. Little grows below, except for its own seedlings, reducing the diversity of native plants and the habitat they provided to native wildlife.


Alternative planting

Native plants

Screening shrubs and small trees such as:

  • Hakea dactyloides
  • Callistemon spp.
  • Acacia spp.
  • Leptospermum spp.

Council provides a tool, on its Mountain Landscapes website, to help you choose native alternative plantings. Choose your village, soil, vegetation community and the purpose of your planting, and the tool will give you suggestions.

There are native nurseries in several Blue Mountains villages, including Glenbrook, Lawson and Katoomba. Please also ask at your favourite local nursery.


Specific control tips for this weed


Treat plants before they fruit to prevent spread by birds. The plant needs to be treated with herbicide because it will coppice (grow new shoots from cut stems) and sucker.

Note: care needs to be taken when handling prunings – the wood and bark are poisonous.

  • Hand pull small seedlings.
  • Stem inject, or cut and paint larger plants.

Cut parts of the plant can be spread out to dry off the ground. Once dead the material will decompose in place or may be composted.

For key points on these techniques:

  • See Weed Control Techniques
  • See Risks associated with control

For more info

For key points on these techniques:

Local Priority Weed

Control measures:

  • The plant should be fully and continuously suppressed and destroyed.
  • Plants under 4 metres in height should be fully and continuously suppressed and destroyed.
  • The spread of this plant should be adequately contained to prevent spread impacting on priority assets. Weed notices will only be issued for these weeds under special circumstances.