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Cherry Trees and Reclaimed Cherry Flooring

Updated on October 20, 2010

What is a Cherry Tree?

The Cherry belongs to the Prunus genus which is a genus with over 430 species that include the peach, the almond and the apricot tree. The term ‘cherry tree’ is confusing because many trees are referred to as a ‘cherry’. For example the Brazilian Cherry is not really a cherry at all because it belongs to the hymmenaea courbaril family not the prunus genus. A more accurate name for Brazilian Cherry is 'Jatoba'. The word cherry is derived from the name of a city in Turkey. Cherry describes the tree and the fruit that comes from the tree.

Red Cherry Tree

Red Cherry Tree
Red Cherry Tree

The Cherry tree is one of the most beautiful trees. It the national tree of Japan and one of the most important events in the Japanese calendar is the traditional ‘hanami’ or cherry viewing party where family and friends view the short-lived cherry blossoms and enjoy a picnic and more than a few cups of sake.

There are three basic types of cherry tree – black cherry, red cherry and wild cherry.

Black, Red and Wild Cherry

Of the three, black cherries grow the tallest. It produces beautiful white clumps of flowers and small, black fruit. Unfortunately, this type of cherry is vulnerable to certain caterpillars.

The red cherry tree is famous for its delicious fruit. Red cherry trees need to be cross-pollinated to bear fruit. The native wild red cherry of northern America is also called the pin cherry. The red cherry is an attractive habitat to a variety of birds and small animals drawn by the sweet tasting fruit.

The wild cherry also has sweet fruit and grows between 15 and 32 meters in height. Like the red cherry, the wild cherry is popular with a wide variety of birds and mammals. The wild cherry is capable of exuding a gum from wounds in its bark to prevent fungal infection and insect attack. Wild cherry is prized for its lumber which is used for making cabinets and musical instruments.

Black Cherry Tree

Black Cherry Tree
Black Cherry Tree

Reclaimed Cherry Flooring

However the best cherry lumber comes from the American black cherry tree. The lumber from these trees have the reddish quality the wood is known for and will take a very high polish. Other names for American black cherry include chokecherry, escarpment cherry, mountain black cherry, Rum cherry and wild black cherry.

The sapwood of Cherry is a creamy pink and the heartwood is a darker pinkish-brown. However cherry that has matured over the years becomes a stunning reddish-brown that makes a beautiful flooring color.

Cherry is one of the most sought after domestic hardwoods of America because of its attractive and subtle grain pattern and for the rich patina and color it develops with age. The wood has a fine even texture that makes it easy to work with. Thus cherry was heavily used for colonial furniture making. It was used by the master craftsman Shaker.

Like reclaimed walnut, reclaimed cherry is hard to source. It is most commonly found in mixed wood barns built in the nineteenth century or in stacks of lumber that were forgotten about in hay lofts.

Cherry hardwood makes ideal flooring because it is hard and durable. It is also a very stable wood that is less affected by changes in humidity than other hardwoods. The heartwood and sapwood of the cherry tree are often steamed together to make a uniform light brown color. Originally cherry flooring was considered a cheap alternative to mahogany flooring. In some ways cherry flooring is superior to mahogany flooring. For a start its distinctive color and grain are just as beautiful as mahogany and secondly, cherry hardwood flooring is harder than mahogany. Cherry has a Janka Hardness of 950 pounds force compared to mahogany’s Janka Hardness of 830 (African mahogany).

Sadly, there is a growing shortage of cherry hardwood lumber available. For this reason it is a good idea to source reclaimed cherry for your flooring needs. You should be able to find a supplier of reclaimed cherry flooring online by looking for a directory of reclaimed hardwood suppliers.

As mentioned above, reclaimed or antique cherry flooring has a richer color than new cherry flooring. It is a highly sought after reclaimed hardwood because of this color. If you are looking to do something special with a room you might want to consider buying reclaimed cherry flooring.

Reclaimed Cherry Flooring

Reclaimed Cherry Flooring
Reclaimed Cherry Flooring


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