Prunus virginiana

common chokecherry

Habit: this thicket forming deciduous shrub or small tree grows to 30 ft (10 m) tall. The lustrous dark green leaves are pale below, oval shaped and wider near the base with a sharp tip and margins are finely toothed. Bark is gray to reddish-brown, with raised horizontal ridges (lenticels). The fragrant flowers have 5 white petals and are in long spike like clusters (racemes) to 6 in (15 cm) long. Chokecherry blooms before the leaves are present in April-July. Fruit is spherical and dark red to black. The leaves turn red to yellow in the fall.

Ecology: widespread in North America, excluding the Southeastern States.  Found in a wide variety of ecosystems from coastal areas, to waters edge in dry regions, and open woods.

Growing Conditions: full sun to partial shade moist to semi dry soil. Spreads rapidly and somewhat aggressively.

Precaution should be taken when planting this shrub, the leaves, stems, and seeds are highly poisonous, and have been known to cause death or serious illness in children as well as livestock.

Many wildlife animals eat the fruit and distribute it, birds, rabbits, rodents and bears.

Categories: ,


Deciduous Tree/Shrub
12-30 ft (4-10 m)
10-20 ft (3-7 m)
USDA Zones:

Native Habitat

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