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Escarpment Black Cherry

Prunus serotina var. serotina

Other common name(s):

Edwards Plateau Black Cherry

Family:

Rosaceae (Rose Family)

Plant Ecoregion Distribution Map

East Central Texas Plains, Gulf Coast Prairies and Marshes, Texas Blackland Prairies, Western Gulf Coastal Plain
Floodplains and Low Terraces2, Northern Post Oak Savanna, Northern Prairie Outliers, San Antonio Prairie, Southern Post Oak Savanna
Northern Humid Gulf Coastal Prairies, Texas-Louisiana Coastal Marshes
Floodplains and Low Terraces1, Northern Blackland Prairie
Flatwoods, Floodplains and Low Terraces3, Pleistocene Fluvial Terraces, Red River Bottomlands, Southern Tertiary Uplands, Tertiary Uplands

Plant Characteristics

Growth Form

Tree

Height

25
to
50
ft.

Spread

20
to
35
ft.

Leaf Retention

Deciduous

Lifespan

Perennial

Habitat and Care Requirements

Soil Type(s)

Alkaline, Calcareous, Rich, Well Drained, Moist

Light Requirement

Sun, Part Shade

Water Requirement

Low, Medium

Native Habitat

Woodland

Bloom and Attraction

Bloom Color

White

Bloom Season

Spring

Seasonal Interest

Fruit, Fall Color, Nectar, Larval Host, Flowers

Wildlife Benefit

Butterflies, Birds, Small Mammals, Moths, Bees

Maintenance

Prune to shape. Not for heavy soils. Easy to grow. Propagation: Seed, Hardwood cuttings, Semi-hardwood cuttings , Softwood cuttings, Root cuttings.

Comments

Blooms March-May. Escarpment Black Cherry is a distinct and isolated geographic variety of Black Cherry (Prunus serotina) found only in the calcareous soils of central Texas. Green leaves turn yellow in fall. Lacey blossoms in spring. Dark, red-purple fruit in fall. Foliage is toxic to humans. Larval Host: Red Admiral, Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, Viceroy, Columbia Silkmoth. Attracts pollinators.
Previous Scientific Name(s): Prunus serotina var. eximia

References

1) Griffith, Bryce, Omernick & Rodgers (2007). Ecoregions of Texas. 2) Miller, George O., Landscaping with Native Plants of Texas 2nd Ed., 2013, pg 53. 3) https://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=PRSEE. 4) http://bonap.net/TDC/Image/Map?taxonType=Species&taxonId=30303&locationType=County&mapType=Normal., 5) Native and Adapted Landscape Plants, City of Austin and Texas A&M, 2014, 6) https://www.itis.gov/servlet/SingleRpt/SingleRpt?search_topic=TSN&search_value=529886#null
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About the Region

New Braunfels, the location of our Fall 2024 Symposium, straddles both the Edwards Plateau Ecoregion and the Blackland Prairie ecoregion. Interstate 35 divides the city of New Braunfels; its path through the city closely parallels the boundary of these two ecoregions, with the Edwards Plateau on the west side and the Blackland Prairies region to the east. The Edwards Plateau area is also called the Hill Country; however, this general term covers a much larger area extending farther north. Spring-fed creeks are found throughout the region; deep limestone canyons, rivers, and lakes (reservoirs) are common. Ashe juniper is perhaps the most common woody species found throughout the region. Additional woody species include various species of oak, with live oak (Quercus fusiformis) being the most common. Sycamores (Platanus occidentalis) and bald cypress (Taxodium distichum) border waterways. This area is well known for its spring wildflower displays, though they may be viewed in spring, late summer, and fall, as well. According to Texas Parks and Wildlife, average annual rainfall in the Edwards Plateau ranges from 15 to 34 inches.

The Blackland Prairie extends from the Red River south to San Antonio, bordered on the west by the Edwards Plateau and the Cross Timbers, and on the east by the Post Oak Savannah. Annual rainfall averages 30 to 40 inches, with higher averages to the east. This region is dominated by prairie species. The most common grass species include little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium) and Indian grass (Sorghastrum nutans) in the uplands and switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) in the riparian areas and drainages. Common herbaceous flowering plants include salvias, penstemons, and silphiums. This area has suffered greatly from overgrazing and agricultural use. Few intact areas remain, though many of the plants can be found along county roadsides throughout the region.

Our four host chapters (New Braunfels, Lindheimer, Guadalupe, and the Hill Country chapters) are located in one or both of the ecoregions above. However, the eastern portion of Guadalupe County also falls within the Post Oak Savanna ecoregion. Annual rainfall averages 35 to 45 inches, with higher averages to the east. A wide variety of hardwood trees are found, including several species of oaks, elms, and in the Bastrop area, loblolly pine (Pinus taeda). Grasses and forbs dominate in the open savannas, with most common grass being little bluestem. Ranching, agriculture, and fire suppression have allowed woody species to encroach on the once-open savannas.

Source: Wildflowers of Texas by Michael Eason