Prunus virginiana - Common Chokecherry
Prunus virginiana - Common Chokecherry - Photo courtesy of Sean James Consulting & Design

Common Chokecherry

Prunus virginiana

  • Small fragrant white or pink flowers emerge simultaneously with the leaves
  • Red to blue to black fruit ripens in July, eaten by birds
  • Semi-glossy green leaves occasionally turn pinkish in the fall
  • Upright, vase-shaped habit
  • Bloom Time: April to May


Pink, White

6-7 m

5-6 m

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Growing and Maintenance Tips:

Chokecherry grows best in a semi-dry fertile soil, transplanting easily, and can tolerate a wide range of soil types and conditions. Suckering freely, they will form thickets if suckers are not removed. They can be pruned or trained into a tree form, but still sucker profusely.

Additional Notes about Common Chokecherry:

Native to Ontario and much of North America.

Although the fruits are edible, they are very sour, hence the name. The seeds contain amygdalin, a product the body converts into cyanide, a deadly poison. It would take many seeds to poison a child. 

All parts of the foliage are poisonous to horses, cattle, and sheep.