Prunus serotina #3 (Wild Black Cherry)August 25, 2020
Ptelea trifoliata #3 (Hop Tree)August 25, 2020
Prunus virginiana #2 (Choke Cherry)
-Part Sun, Full Sun, Full Shade
-Moist to Dry Soil (FACU)
-20-30′ Tall by 15-20′ Wide
-Thicket-forming Shrub, Small Tree
-White Fragrant Flowers in April
-Drought, Salt tolerant
Out of stock
Choke Cherry is a small understory tree or multi-stemmed shrub, depending on how it is maintained. The woody, branching root system tends to sucker and form colonies, but this growth habit can be controlled by mowing or pruning to restrict the size and shape if desired. It blooms with bright white, fragrant flowers on long clusters in mid to late April. It will grow and bloom in part shade, but flowering and fruit set will be increased with more sun exposure and available soil moisture.
The flowers offer nectar and pollen to bees in a critical time, before many other trees and herbaceous plants are in bloom. The fruits ripen August through September and are voraciously consumed by many bird species. The foliage is fed upon by caterpillars of the Coral Hairstreak and Red-spotted Purple, just two examples of the 340 species of Lepidoptera that utilize Prunus species. Aside from the beneficial and desirable wildlife that rely on Choke Cherry, there are a number of harmful insects that may feed on the plant, such as aphids and borers and Tent caterpillars. Luckily, birds love to hang around in the dense, twiggy cover and will happily make a meal of most insect pests. The key to a healthy ecosystem is balance, and balance is easily maintained through diversity, which Choke Cherries excel at promoting through their many offerings.
While the fruit is edible and there are medicinal properties associated with this plant, it is important to note that it does contain toxic compounds. Appropriate research is highly recommended before using this or any plant as an edible or medicinal. It can be deadly to dogs and children if large quantities of the seeds are consumed.
Native Plant Agriculture by Indigenous Landscapes
Eastern/Central Medicinal Plants and Herbs by Steven Foster and James A. Duke
Missouri Botanical Garden
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
Grow Native! Salt-Tolerant Native Plants
Fruit Detail: Ryan Hodnett, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Flower Detail: Matt Lavin from Bozeman, Montana, USA, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Mature Individual Tree: Dan Keck, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons
Mature Individual Shrub: Matt Lavin from Bozeman, Montana, USA, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons