Black cherry typically occurs in both lowland and upland woods and along streams. It is one of the largest of the cherries with a narrow-columnar to rounded crown. It is perhaps most noted for its profuse spring bloom, attractive summer foliage and fall color. Fragrant white flowers in slender pendulous clusters appear with the foliage in spring (late April-May). Flowers are followed by drooping clusters of small red cherries that ripen in late summer to dark purple-black. Fruits are bitter and inedible fresh off the tree, but can be used to make jams and jellies. Fruits have also been used to flavor certain liquors such as brandy and whiskey. Fruits are attractive to wildlife. Mature trees develop dark scaly bark. Bark, roots and leaves contain concentrations of toxic cyanogenic compounds, hence the noticeable bitter almond aroma of the inner bark. Native Americans prepared decoctions of the inner bark for cough medicines and tea-like cold remedies. Hard, reddish-brown wood takes a fine polish and is commercially valued for use in a large number of products such as furniture, veneers, cabinets, interior paneling, gun stocks, instrument/tool handles and musical instruments.