One of several varieties of shrub or small tree (Prunus virginiana) of the rose family, native to North America. Though it is aptly named for the astringent, acidic taste of its reddish cherries, its fruit may be made into jelly and preserves. The stones and wilted foliage are poisonous. The trees often form dense thickets on moist soils. They are frequently attacked and defoliated by eastern tent caterpillars. Foul-scented white flowers are produced in hanging spikes, and the slender brown twigs also have an unpleasant odour and a bitter taste.