Do we have a treasure tree?
March 31, 2014 10:09 AM   Subscribe

What are these little seeds or pits that I found in the yard today? We moved here in the wintertime, so we have yet to see what treasures our yard has waiting for us!

Scattered, for size, open one, and the tree I think they came from.
posted by MayNicholas to Home & Garden (10 answers total)
Where are you?
posted by rtha at 10:16 AM on March 31, 2014

They look like cherry pits to me.
posted by MexicanYenta at 10:20 AM on March 31, 2014

Response by poster: South eastern US. Zone 6.
posted by MayNicholas at 10:20 AM on March 31, 2014

Cherry pits.
posted by MexicanYenta at 10:23 AM on March 31, 2014

Agreed, looks like cherry!
But don't get your hopes up, ornamental are a lot more common than edible. Pacific NW is prime territory for sweet (Bing, Queen Anne, Ranier) and Michigan specializes in tart (pie cherries), both of which are a lot cooler than the southeast. That's not to say you can't grow tasty cherries in zone 6, so definitely watch the progress in spring. If it looks like a classic cherry blossom and isn't too pink and frilly, you'll want to keep a sharp eye out. The time between when the cherries get ripe and when the birds decimate the crop may be anywhere from a day, or a few hours, to negative time (birds eat unripe cherries with gusto).

But tentatively speaking, best wishes for a fine fruit crop!
posted by aimedwander at 10:38 AM on March 31, 2014

Response by poster: All of the cherry trees I have looked up appear to have leaves that are toothed around the edges. If I have the right tree (it's in a brambly, wild area area), these leaves have smooth edges. Does that make a difference?
posted by MayNicholas at 12:13 PM on March 31, 2014

I don't know what they are, but they certainly don't look like cherry pits to me. And that tree is not like any cherry I've ever seen, ornamental or fruiting.
posted by lydhre at 1:27 PM on March 31, 2014

Based on the pics, I'll guess it's a Cherry Laurel. Southeastern native plant, broadleaf evergreen, cherry relative, makes masses of small purple-black berries in the fall that end up with pits. Commonly planted as hedge or small tree.

Note that while I say "evergreen", broadleaf evergreens in the southeast can and do shed the majority of their leaves in a particularly cold winter.
posted by Ardea alba at 7:15 PM on March 31, 2014

Based on your location, and the fact the the tree is found in a "wild, brambly area", it is probably a wild cherry tree (Prunus serotina). It is a bit hard to tell from the 'tree' pic you provided, but it looks like your tree has smoothish bark of a dark gray/brown, which would be a fit, as well as the leaves, which are glossier and not toothed like the typical edible or ornamental cherry.

If you have any livestock you may want to remove the tree, as the leaves are evidently yummy for grazing, but if they are wilted, can make your horse or cow quite ill indeed.
posted by PlantGoddess at 6:18 AM on April 1, 2014

Wild cherries don't have pits like that.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 5:00 PM on April 1, 2014

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