Volunteer cherry tree

Asked July 12, 2018, 3:22 PM EDT

Unknown type cherry tree(s) bearing sour fruit. Color hasn't gone beyond bright red at ripeness. Leaves are medium to dark green, elliptical, with broadest part closer to tip of leaf than to stem. Fruit sIze at ripeness 1/2" to 3/4". Trees are 15 to 20 ft. tall. Can you identify? Want to verify safe to cook with. I know stone, leaves and bark may have toxins. Thanks!
Photos attached (3)

Jefferson County Colorado

1 Response

this appears to be a Montmorency (sour) cherry tree, which does very well in the Front Range and makes delicious pies and cobblers. It's true that leaves and seeds of this and other prunus species contain a cyanide compound that is toxic (to animals and people) but the flesh of the fruit itself is edible. The fruit should be fully red when it is ripe and does not darken beyond a bright red. [If you want to harvest the fruit before it's taken by birds (which don't seem to be affected by the toxin and pass the seeds in their excrement) you will need to net the tree.]