(Prunus virginiana var. virginiana)

Conservation Status
  IUCN Red List

not listed


N5 - Secure

SNR - Unranked


not listed

Wetland Indicator Status
  Great Plains

FACU - Facultative upland


FACU - Facultative upland

  Northcentral & Northeast

FACU - Facultative upland


Chokecherry is a deciduous, relatively slow-growing, short lived, 8 to 25 tall, up to 6 in diameter woody plant that rises from a network of shallow, to ½ in diameter rhizomes. It is usually a tall shrub with multiple stems, though on favorable sites it may be a small tree with a single trunk. It is short-lived and relatively slow growing. Roots occur at intervals along the rhizomes and may extend vertically 6 or more. The root system extends horizontally 35 or more. The plant often forms colonies (thickets) by producing aerial stems from buds on the spreading roots (suckering).

The stems are slender, erect to slightly spreading, often leaning, often crooked, and often twisted. They are often branched near the base. The branches are slender and upright to slightly spreading

The bark on young stems is smooth and dark grayish-brown. It is covered with numerous, pale, horizontal lines (lenticels). As it ages it becomes darker and rough; the outer layers develop tight, curled peeling edges; and the lenticels become shallow fissures.

Twigs are slender to moderately stout, hairless, and brown to grayish-brown or reddish-brown, soon becoming dark reddish-brown. They do not have an outer grayish skin that wears off. When scratched the twigs have a bitter almond odor and taste.

Buds are reddish-brown, sharply pointed, and small, only about long. They are held slightly away from the twig. They are covered with about 10 scales. The scales are pointed, dark brown at the base, and gray at the margins. The leaf scars are small, raised, and semi-circular. They have 3 bundle scars. The pith is solid.

The leaves are alternate, broadly elliptic or inversely egg-shaped, 2¼ to 4long, and 1¼ to 2 wide. They are 1.4 to 2 times as long as wide. They are attached to the twig on to ¾ long leaf stalks (petioles). The petiole is usually hairless and has 1 or a few stalkless glands near the point where the blade attaches to the stalk. The blade is rounded at the base and tapers to a short point at the tip with concave sides along the tip. The upper surface is dark green and hairless. The lower surface is pale green with whitish or yellowish hairs mostly on the axils of the lateral veins. The margins are finely, singly toothed. The teeth are short and straight. They are not tipped with a minute, hard, gland-like thickening. The leaves turn yellow in autumn.

The inflorescence is a dense, elongated, unbranched cluster (raceme) of 20 to 50 flowers at the end of short, leafy shoots of the current season. The racemes are cylinder shaped, 2 to 4 long, and about ¾wide. Each flower is on a hairless, to 5 16 long stalk.

The flowers are to ½ in diameter. They open in early May to mid-June before the leaves reach full size. There are 5 sepals, 5 petals, about stamens, and 1 style. The sepals are green and 1 64 to 1 16 long. They have 10 or more minute, red glands or glandular teeth on the margin. The petals are white, to 316 long, and conspicuously narrowed at the base (clawed). The claw is about 1 32 long. The expanded portion of the petal is circular, cupped, and about wide. The stamens have long, translucent green filaments and yellow anthers.

The fruit is a fleshy, one-seeded, spherical or inversely egg-shaped, 5 16to 7 16 in diameter drupe. It is green at first, red later in the season, and finally dark reddish-purple to blackish when it matures in mid-July to late August. The sepals do not persist in fruit. The ripe fruit is very astringent but edible when ripe.




8 to 25


Flower Color




Similar Species

  Black cherry (Prunus serotina var. serotina) is a tree with a single trunk. The bud scales are green at the base and reddish-brown at the tip. The leaves are narrower, 2 to 3 times as long as wide. The lower leaf surface is hairless except for a narrow patch of rust-colored hairs along both sides of the midvein on the lower ½ or of the blade. The teeth on the margins are curved inward. They have a gland-like thickening at the tip. The sepals persist in fruit.  

Forest edges and openings; interiors or forests with thin to moderate canopies; thickets; old fields; and roadsides. Full to partial sun.




Early May to mid-June


Pests and Diseases


Cherry Leaf Spot (Blumeriella jaapii) causes small purple spots on the leaves. Later, the spots turn brown, separate from the green tissue, and drop off, leaving a “shot hole”. Eventually, the infected leaf turns yellows and falls off.

Chokecherry finger gall mite (Eriophyes emarginatae) causes a small, narrow, erect, finger-like gall on the upper side of leaves. When present, there are usually many galls on each infected leaf.




Distribution Map



2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 24, 28, 29, 30.








Common and widespread

  Kingdom Plantae (green algae and land plants)  
  Subkingdom Viridiplantae (green plants)  
  Infrakingdom Streptophyta (land plants and green algae)  
  Superdivision Embryophyta (land plants)  
  Division Tracheophyta (vascular plants)  
  Subdivision Spermatophytina (seed plants)  
  Class Magnoliopsida (flowering plants)  
  Superorder Rosanae  


Rosales (roses, elms, figs, and allies)  


Rosaceae (rose)  
  Subfamily Amygdaloideae  
  Tribe Amygdaleae  


Prunus (plums, cherries, and allies)  
  Subgenus Padus  
  Species chokecherry (Prunus virginiana)  

Subordinate Taxa






Padus nana

Padus virginiana


Common Names


choke cherry


common chokecherry

eastern choke cherry

Virginia chokecherry












The upper angle where a branch, stem, leaf stalk, or vein diverges.



A stalk-like narrowed base of some petals and sepals.



A fleshy fruit with a single hard, stone-like core, like a cherry or peach.



On plants: The thread-like stalk of a stamen which supports the anther. On Lepidoptera: One of a pair of long, thin, fleshy extensions extending from the thorax, and sometimes also from the abdomen, of a caterpillar.



A corky, round or stripe-like, usually raised, pore-like opening in bark that allows for gas exchange.



On plants: The stalk of a leaf blade or a compound leaf that attaches it to the stem. On ants and wasps: The constricted first one or two segments of the rear part of the body.



The spongy cells in the center of the stem.



An unbranched, elongated inflorescence with stalked flowers. The flowers mature from the bottom up.



A horizontal, usually underground stem. It serves as a reproductive structure, producing roots below and shoots above at the nodes.



An outer floral leaf, usually green but sometimes colored, at the base of a flower.



A basal shoot rising from the roots or from a bud at the base of a shrub or tree.

Visitor Photos

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Found this growing on the shore in my buffer.

    chokecherry   chokecherry  

Bill Reynolds

    chokecherry   chokecherry  




    chokecherry   chokecherry  
    chokecherry   chokecherry  




    chokecherry   chokecherry  


    chokecherry   chokecherry  

Young Bark

    chokecherry   chokecherry  



  Prunus virginiana
Matt Lavin
  Prunus virginiana  

Fruit: drupe. Prunus is the only genus with a single ovary per flower that develops into a drupe. Shrubs to small trees, up to 6m tall, usually riparian and site with high water table, common throughout Montana and sometime entering open understory, sagebrush steppe, and rangeland near riparian areas.


Copyright DianesDigitals

  Chokecherry (Wild Cherry) (Prunus virginiana)
Andree Reno Sanborn
  Chokecherry (Wild Cherry) (Prunus virginiana)  



Visitor Videos

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Other Videos
  Honey Bees (Apis mellifera) and Chokecherry (Prunus virginiana), Montana, USA
Rob Mutch

Uploaded on Jan 8, 2012


Encyclopedia of Life (EOL):

[taxonomy:binomial=Apis mellifera]

  Chokecherry Blossoms (Prunus virginiana)
Wandering Sole TV

Published on Jul 5, 2012

Chokecherry shrubs in flower.

  Wild edibles, ChokeCherry tree Identification.

Uploaded on Jun 2, 2011

The Chokecherry tree can be a big tree, the berries while tart and mouth numbing, they ere edible, a bit sour, but they make great jellies and jams.

Here is a springtime view of the tree as a cross reference for anyone interested. Thank You.




Visitor Sightings

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May 2023

Location: Cass County

  Bill Reynolds

Location: Numedal Township, Pennington Co., Minnesota

  Olga Zenteno

Location: Scenic State Park

chokecherries ripe all over the park- alongside lakes and on trails as well.


Avon Hills Forest SNA, North Unit

Baker Park Reserve

Big Stone Lake State Park

Big Woods Heritage Forest WMA

Blackhoof River WMA

Blaine Preserve SNA

Blaine Wetland Sanctuary

Blanket Flower Prairie SNA

Blue Devil Valley SNA

Blue Mounds State Park

Boot Lake SNA

Brownsville Bluff SNA

Bunker Hills Regional Park

Bur Oak WMA

Butternut Valley Prairie SNA

Cannon River Trout Lily SNA

Cannon River Wilderness Area

Carpenter St. Croix Valley Nature Center

Carver Park Reserve

Chamberlain Woods SNA

Charles A. Lindbergh State Park

Chimney Rock SNA

Cleary Lake Regional Park

Clifton E. French Regional Park

Clinton Falls Dwarf Trout Lily SNA

Cottonwood River Prairie SNA

Crow-Hassan Park Reserve

Crystal Spring SNA

Des Moines River SNA

Edward Velishek Memorial WMA

Elm Creek Park Reserve

Englund Ecotone SNA

Falls Creek SNA

Forestville/Mystery Cave State Park

Frenchman’s Bluff SNA

Frontenac State Park

Glacial Lakes Preserve

Glacial Lakes State Park

Glendalough State Park

Gneiss Outcrops SNA

Grey Cloud Dunes SNA

Hampton Woods WMA

Hardscrabble Woods / MG Tusler Sanctuary

Hastings SNA

Hastings Sand Coulee SNA

Hayes Lake State Park

Helen Allison Savanna SNA

Holthe Prairie SNA

Hyland Lake Park Reserve

Iron Horse Prairie SNA

Iron Springs Bog SNA

Itasca State Park

Itasca Wilderness Sanctuary SNA

Jay Cooke State Park

John A. Latsch State Park

John Murtaugh Memorial WMA

John Peter Hoffman Spring Brook Valley WMA

Kasota Prairie

Keller Regional Park

Kilen Woods State Park

La Salle Lake SNA

Lake Alexander Woods SNA, South Unit

Lake Bemidji State Park

Lake Byllesby Regional Park

Lake Carlos State Park

Lake Elmo Park Reserve

Lake Maria State Park

Lawrence Creek SNA

Lebanon Hills Regional Park

Leif Mountain

Lester Lake SNA

Lost Valley Prairie SNA

Malmberg Prairie SNA

Maplewood State Park

Mary Schmidt Crawford Woods SNA

McKnight Prairie

Mille Lacs Kathio State Park

Mille Lacs Moraine SNA

Mille Lacs WMA

Minneopa State Park

Minnesota Valley State Recreation Area, Lawrence Unit

Mississippi River County Park

Monson Lake State Park

Moose Lake State Park

Morton Outcrops SNA

Mound Prairie SNA

Mound Spring Prairie SNA, North Unit

Murphy-Hanrehan Park Reserve

Nerstrand Big Woods State Park

Ney Nature Center

Northern Tallgrass Prairie NWR, Rengstorf Unit

Old Mill State Park

Oronoco Prairie SNA

Oxbow Park & Zollman Zoo

Paul Bunyan Savanna

Pigeon River Cliffs

Plover Prairie, East Unit

Prairie Bush Clover SNA

Prairie Creek WMA, Koester Prairie Unit

Prairie Creek Woods SNA

Prairie Smoke Dunes SNA

Quarry Park SNA

Rice Lake Savanna SNA

Ripley Esker SNA

Ritter Farm Park

River Terrace Prairie SNA

River Warren Outcrops SNA

Robert Ney Memorial Park Reserve

Rock Ridge Prairie SNA

Rockville County Park

St. Croix Savanna SNA

St. Croix State Park

Sakatah Lake State Park

Sand Prairie Wildlife Management and Environmental Education Area

Sandstone WMA

Savage Fen SNA

Savanna Portage State Park

Scenic State Park

Schoolcraft State Park

Seven Mile Creek County Park

Seven Sisters Prairie

Seven Springs WMA

Sheepberry Fen

Shooting Star Prairie SNA

Sibley State Park

Split Rock Creek State Park

Spring Creek Prairie SNA

Spring Lake Park Reserve

Spring Lake Regional Park

Stanley Eddy Memorial Park Reserve

Sunfish Lake Park

Swedes Forest SNA

Tamarack Nature Center

Thompson County Park

Thorson Prairie WMA

Tiedemann WMA

Tribute WMA

Twin Lakes SNA

Uncas Dunes SNA

Upper Sioux Agency State Park

Vermillion River WMA

Whitetail Woods Regional Park

Whitewater State Park

Whitney Island SNA

Wild Indigo SNA

Wild River State Park

William O’Brien State Park

Wood-Rill SNA

Woodbury WMA

Woodland Trails Regional Park

Zumbro Falls Woods SNA







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