choke cherry Rosaceae Prunus
virginiana L. symbol: PRVI
Leaf: Alternate, simple, oblong to nearly oval, 2 to 4 inches long, finely serrated margin, dark green above and paler below, minute glands on petiole.
Flower: White, in a loose 3 to 6 inches long terminal raceme, appearing after leaves.
Fruit: Dark red to purple drupe, 1/3 inch in diameter, maturing in late summer.
Twig: Twigs slender, but stouter than black cherry, light brown to gray, strong unpleasant odor when broken, buds are 1/3 inch long covered with brownish scales.
Bark: Smooth, gray-brown, conspicuous lenticels that develop into shallow fissures, young stems have shallowly peeling, curling layers.
Form: Small, upright tree to 25 feet and 6 inches in diameter, often forming shrubby thickets.
Looks like: black cherry - fire cherry - bitter cherry - Klamath plum
Additional Range Information: Prunus virginiana is native to North America. Range may be expanded by planting. See states reporting choke cherry.
More Information: Fall Color
External Links: USDAFS Additional Silvics - USDA Plants Database
All material © 2017 Virginia Tech Dept. of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation; Photos and text by: John Seiler, Edward Jensen, Alex Niemiera, and John Peterson