Prunus virginiana (Chokecherry)


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Plant Description: Chokecherry is a thicket forming deciduous shrub/small tree. 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 May-July. The leaves turn red to yellow in the fall. Fruit is spherical and dark red to black. 

  • Height: 12-30 ft
  • Width: 10-20 ft
  • Watering needs: Moderate
  • Sun needs: Full sun to partial shade
  • Soil needs: Moist to semi-dry, well-draining soil
  • Bloom Time: May-July
  • Portland Plant List (Backyard Habitat Certification): Yes

Landscape Use and Ecological Function: Chokecherry is widespread in North America, excluding the Southeastern States. It is found in a wide variety of ecosystems from coastal areas, to waters edge in dry regions, and open woods. This plant is a Willamette Valley native. We recommend using it in woodland gardens or meadowscape environments. 

A major ecological function of this plant is to provide habitat that attracts wildlife. Many wild animals (birds, rabbits, rodents, and bears) eat the fruit and distribute it.

*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.*

*2nd photo by SevenOaks Nursery*

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