Choke Cherry (Prunus virginiana)
Bloom time: May – June
General: Choke cherry can be found as a bush or small tree, generally 2-4 m tall, but sometimes reaching up to 10 m tall.
Leaves & Twigs: Choke cherry has pointed leaves with sharply toothed edges. Their shape – widest above the middle of the leaf with a short pointed tip – distinguishes the plant from pin cherry, whose leaves are widest below the middle and taper gradually to a point.
Flowers & Fruits:
- Flowers are white, 1-1.5 cm across, and hang in dense elongated clusters up to 15 cm long.
- Berries are red, ripening to bluish-black.
Habitat: The choke cherry prefers to grow in aspen poplar groves, ravines and the edges of creeks.
PlantWatch Pointers: Tag a typical shrub for observation.
- First bloom: when the first flowers are open on the observed shrub (3 places).
- Mid bloom: when 50% of the flowers are open on the observed shrub.
This species is monitored in:
Choke cherry sticks were used by Aboriginal Peoples for roasting game, because the wood did not burn easily and the resulting smokiness added spice to the meat.