Choke Cherry (Prunus virginiana)

AChoke Cherry (Prunus virginiana)lso known as: Choke cherry

Bloom time: May – June

Additional photos:

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.

To Observe:

  • 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.

Distribution Map:

Distribution Map

This species is monitored in:

  • Alberta
  • Ontario
  • Quebec
  • Saskatchewan

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.