Identity of a Tree with Drupes

Asked August 30, 2018, 9:33 AM EDT

A multiple trunk tree grows on my lot. It is about 20 - 25 feet tall, and about as wide. Probably about 40 years old. In an area that was previously an orchard, but probably not planted for its fruit. (The fruits, obviously drupes, are small, and the tree is not on the orchard spacing grid.) I have recently noticed a few others, much younger, nearby; possibly by bird dispersion. Another specimen is more than a quarter mile away, so perhaps there are multiple seed bearing trees around, although I have not seen any other mature trees. The leaves are small, up to about 2 inches. Pictures attached show the leaves and their growth habit on the twigs, the drupe, and a close up of the trunk bark. I can provide a picture of the entire tree/shrub as well, but would need another upload button. Can you identify it? I would guess a cherry, but black cherry usually grows with a single trunk and quite tall, and the leaves don't seem to match choke cherry. (There is actually a young volunteer black or choke cherry growing nearby; the bark is quite different.)

Antrim County Michigan

1 Response

Good evening,
From the pictures you sent it looks like Common Service berry. I am including information regarding the Common Service berry tree.
Downy service berry grows 25 to 40 feet tall and can spread to 20 feet. This native large shrub or small tree has a moderate growth rate in most soils. Multiple stems are upright and highly branched forming a dense shrub with many small-diameter branches or, if properly pruned, a small tree. Trees can be trained, and are offered by nurseries, with one trunk. The main ornamental features are white flowers, followed by purple fruit in late spring or early summer. Fruits are produced before the leaves in spring and are quickly eaten by birds. Service berry puts on a brilliant fall color display ranging from yellow and orange to dull red. This tree is suitable for naturalistic plantings and will attract birds. The tree suckers from the base of the trunk, which can be a maintenance problem in urban plantings or in formal landscapes. I hope this answers the mystery question of what kind of cherry tree this is. Thank you for using Ask an Expert and good luck.