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Prunus virginiana (Chokecherry)

Chokecherry, American Chokecherry, Virginian Bird Cherry

Prunus virginiana, Chokecherry, American Chokecherry, Virginian Bird Cherry, Flowering Tree, White flowers, Red Berries
Prunus virginiana, Chokecherry, American Chokecherry, Virginian Bird Cherry, Flowering Tree, White flowers, Red Berries

Prunus virginiana (Chokecherry) is a suckering small tree or large shrub adorned with an irregular, oval-rounded crown clothed in elliptic, sharply toothed leaves. Dark green above and gray-green beneath, they turn brilliant golden-yellow and orange in the fall. In mid-spring, a profusion of fragrant, cup-shaped, white flowers held in elongated clusters, up to 6 in. long (15 cm), smother the bare branches and create a terrific floral display. The blossoms give way to clusters of rounded, pea-sized, red berries that ripen to dark purple-black in late summer. Attractive to birds and other wildlife, the berries are tart when raw but can be harvested for processing into jams, jellies, pies, and sauces.

Prunus virginiana is a magnet for numerous bird species, including the American Robin, Baltimore Oriole, Blue Jay, Cedar Waxwing, Eastern Bluebird, House Finch, Northern Cardinal, Northern Mockingbird, and Ruby-Throated Hummingbird. Its abundant berries and dense foliage provide essential food and shelter, making it a cherished resource for avian visitors.

  • Grows up to 20-30 ft. tall (6-9 m) and 15-20 ft. wide (4-6 m). Will sucker to form colonies in the wild.
  • Performs best in full sun or part shade in dry to medium, well-drained soils. Best flower production is obtained in full sun. Drought tolerant. Tolerates high pH and clay soils.
  • Perfect choice for shrub borders, open woodland gardens, or native plant areas.
  • Susceptible to aphids, caterpillars, Japanese beetles, spider mites, black knot, leaf spot, dieback, leaf curl, powdery mildew, root rot, and fire blight.
  • Promptly remove suckers to prevent any undesired spread.
  • This plant has low-severity poison characteristics. Stems, leaves, and seeds contain cyanide, which is particularly toxic in wilting.
  • Toxic to dogs, toxic to cats, toxic to horses.
  • Native from Newfoundland to Saskatchewan south to North Carolina, Tennessee, Missouri, and Kansas.

Requirements

Hardiness 2 - 7
Heat Zones 1 - 8
Climate Zones 1, 1A, 1B, 2, 2A, 2B, 3, 3A, 3B, 10, A1, A2, A3
Plant Type Shrubs, Trees
Plant Family Rosaceae
Genus Prunus - Flowering Cherry Tree
Common names Chokecherry
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Mid, Late)
Summer (Late)
Fall
Height 20' - 30'
(6.1m - 9.1m)
Spread 15' - 20'
(4.6m - 6.1m)
Maintenance Average
Water Needs Low, Average
Soil Type Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Well-Drained
Characteristics Fragrant, Showy, Fruit & Berries
Native Plants United States, Maine, New York, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Maryland, Delaware, Connecticut, Vermont, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Northeast, California, Alaska, Rocky Mountains, Midwest, Southwest, Southeast, Pacific Northwest, South Dakota, Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa, Nebraska, Missouri, Minnesota, Indiana, Michigan, North Dakota, Kansas, Ohio, Oregon, Idaho, Washington, Georgia, Kentucky, Arkansas, Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, West Virginia, Texas, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Colorado, Montana, Wyoming, Utah
Tolerance Drought, Dry Soil, Rocky Soil
Attracts Birds, Butterflies
Garden Uses Beds And Borders, Hedges And Screens
Garden Styles Informal and Cottage, Japanese Garden, Traditional Garden
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Alternative Plants to Consider

Prunus mume (Plum Blossom)
Prunus x cistena (Purple-Leaf Sand Cherry)
Prunus ilicifolia (Hollyleaf Cherry)
Prunus caroliniana (Carolina Cherry Laurel)
Prunus serotina (Black Cherry)
Prunus americana (American Plum)

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Prunus x yedoensis (Yoshino Cherry Blossom)
Prunus pendula (Weeping Cherry Blossom)
Prunus x subhirtella (Higan Cherry)
Prunus serrulata (Japanese Cherry Blossom)
Shrubs and Trees with Attractive Winter Bark
Great Shrubs with Berries for Winter Interest for New England
Late Season Flowering Cherry Trees for Your Garden
Midseason Flowering Cherry Trees for Your Garden
Early Season Flowering Cherry Trees for Your Garden
Blooming Seasons of Cherry Blossom Trees
Fragrant Flowering Cherry Trees for Your Garden
Flowering Cherry Trees with Attractive Fall Colors
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While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.
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Requirements

Hardiness 2 - 7
Heat Zones 1 - 8
Climate Zones 1, 1A, 1B, 2, 2A, 2B, 3, 3A, 3B, 10, A1, A2, A3
Plant Type Shrubs, Trees
Plant Family Rosaceae
Genus Prunus - Flowering Cherry Tree
Common names Chokecherry
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Mid, Late)
Summer (Late)
Fall
Height 20' - 30'
(6.1m - 9.1m)
Spread 15' - 20'
(4.6m - 6.1m)
Maintenance Average
Water Needs Low, Average
Soil Type Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Well-Drained
Characteristics Fragrant, Showy, Fruit & Berries
Native Plants United States, Maine, New York, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Maryland, Delaware, Connecticut, Vermont, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Northeast, California, Alaska, Rocky Mountains, Midwest, Southwest, Southeast, Pacific Northwest, South Dakota, Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa, Nebraska, Missouri, Minnesota, Indiana, Michigan, North Dakota, Kansas, Ohio, Oregon, Idaho, Washington, Georgia, Kentucky, Arkansas, Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, West Virginia, Texas, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Colorado, Montana, Wyoming, Utah
Tolerance Drought, Dry Soil, Rocky Soil
Attracts Birds, Butterflies
Garden Uses Beds And Borders, Hedges And Screens
Garden Styles Informal and Cottage, Japanese Garden, Traditional Garden
How Many Plants
Do I Need?
Explore Great Plant Combination Ideas
Prunus (Cherry Tree)
Not sure which Prunus (Cherry Tree) to pick?
Compare Now

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