Prunus pennsylvanica L. f.
Pin cherry is a small, common tree found in a great variety of habitats in Canada and the northern United States. It is sometimes called fire cherry for its natural reforestation ability after forest fires, or bird cherry for the value of the cherries as bird food. It forms pure stands that provide shade for seedlings of slower growing, shade tolerant species, then dies off, making way for the new trees. Its life span is short: about 30 years. Pin cherry is classed as very intolerant of shade. Many insects and diseases attack pin cherry (Burns and Honkala 1990). It has some potential as a future native horticultural crop (St. Pierre 1992). Coumarin in leaves and bark may confer resistance to certain diseases and because of the presence of these chemical compounds (Santamour and Riedel 1994), wild cherry may have some importance for cherry breeding. The bark of pin cherry was used widely by first peoples to make baskets and for wrapping food (Turner 1979).
The range of pin cherry is huge and mostly northern. It extends from Newfoundland to British Columbia and southeast to Pennsylvania, with scattered areas occurring even further south. In British Columbia, pin cherry is common in the central Cordilleran region at low elevation (Little 1976; Little 1977; Burns and Honkala 1990).
Distribution and Protected Areas – from Hamann et.al. 2005
Conservation Status Summary – from Chourmouzis et.al. 2009
“In central British Columbia, pin cherry is well protected in the IDF zone. However, in the SBS zone, in the core of its British Columbia range, pin cherry is protected only at threshold values below 10 hectares cumulative cover (the threshold deemed adequate for large trees to conserve adequate population sizes). Ground truthing is recommended first in the SBS zone, and then in the BWBS and ICH zones.”
Pin cherry produces a large number of fruits, which are dispersed by gravity and to a lesser degree by birds and small mammals. Good fruit crops occur annually (Banerjee et al. 2001). It has been estimated that some seeds buried in the soil retain their viability for 50 to 150 years (Marks 1971; Graber and Thompson 1978). A small amount of pin cherry seed probably germinates annually in northern hardwood stands. The largest number of pin cherry seedlings appeared in response to major disturbances such as heavy cutting or burning (Marks 1974). Pin cherry readily reproduces vegetatively by root suckers (Burns and Honkala 1990).
Pin cherry hybridizes with bitter cherry (Prunus emarginata) (Taylor and Taylor 1981).
Resource management and seed transfer
No information available.