Prepared by Jennifer L. D’Appollonio, Assistant Scientist, University of Maine, Orono, ME 04469. Updated February 2018.
Scientific name: Prunus virginiana L.
Common name(s): chokecherry, choke cherry, common chokecherry
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– woody perennial
– generally flowers in late May-early June in ME
-Shrub or small tree
-can reach 4’-20′ in height
-dark smooth bark with white horizontal lenticels
- oval to lance-shaped
- bright green above, paler below
- sharply toothed
-Flowers are white, in dense clusters 3”-6” long
-Fruit is dark red to black
-Twigs have an undesirably odor when crushed
– may be confused with P. serotina; see left sidebar on Go Botany webpage
Prefers moist rich soils.
-meadows and fields
-gets its name from its astringent fruit
-the favorite host plant of Eastern tent caterpillars
-birds feed on the fruit
Heinrich, B. 1976. Flowering phenologies: Bog, woodland, and disturbed habitats. Ecology. 57(5):890-899.
Go Botany. “Prunus Virginiana L.” Prunus Virginiana (Choke Cherry): Go Botany, National Sceince Foundation, 2021, gobotany.nativeplanttrust.org/species/prunus/virginiana/.