Identify Fruit Tree Michigan

I live in Taylor, Michigan, which is near Detroit. At the rear of my back yard, growing in the brush at its edge, is a beautiful tree, about ten or twelve feet tall, that looks to me like a cherry tree, but it doesn't have cherries on it. It has groups of small (about a quarter inch diameter) smooth, round berries that are very dark -- almost black in color. I squashed one between my fingers and got a rich purple juice out of it that had no odor I could detect. No, I didn't taste it. Here we are in late October, and there are all kinds of these berries to be seen, and it seems nothing's interested in eating them. Could somebody tell me what kind of tree I have? Dan
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dand said:

One possibility is one of the invasive buckthorns (Rhamnus sp.), which are ripe now. These sometimes go by the name 'tallhedge' and are the objects of many workdays in Nature Conservancy reserves.
common buckthorn: http://www.nps.gov/plants/alien/fact/rhca1.htm http://www.dnr.state.oh.us/forestry/Education/ohiotrees/buckthorn.htm
glossy buckthorn: http://www.uwgb.edu/biodiversity/herbarium/trees/rhafra01.htm http://gallery.cs.umb.edu/gallery/Glossy-Buckthorn
Buckthorn berries are not edible, though they have been used medicinally. The berries can be toxic to some people (most dangerous to children, due to their small size), though fatalities are very rare.
"Buckthorn berries (Rhamni baccae) are powerfully cathartic; 20 of the recent berries cause brisk, watery purging, with nausea, dryness of the throat, thirst, and tormina." http://www.ibiblio.org/herbmed/eclectic/kings/rhamnus-cath.html
tormina = acute, colicky pains; gripes
--
Pat in Plymouth MI ('someplace.net' is comcast)

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You nailed it. The photos of the Common Buckthorn at the first link match perfectly. Interesting rogue I have on my hands -- an invasive species once (and still by some) thought to have medicinal properties. Thanks for the info! Dan
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wrote:

If it looks like a cherry and has small quarter inch dark fruit, its probably a Black Cherry.
dickm
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It's a common blackthorn. Thanks for your help! Dan
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Hi All,
It sounds like an elderberry tree from what you say. Birds will eat them if you leave them long enough, but from the descriptoin you have given I could be wrong. hope this helps you.
Richard M. Watkin.

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