PNW Landscape Plant Guide

brought to you by the plant geeks at Calendula Farm

Chokecherry (Prunus virginiana)

Its name is a bit extreme sounding for such a wonderfully tasty and nutritious fruiting plant. Chokecherry is a wild cherry found coast to coast across the northern portion of North America, as a 4-8 foot shrub at high elevations or as 10-20 foot trees in shady woodlands.

Chokecherries flower in spring with masses of white flowers in long dangling clusters. In very late summer these ripen to reddish black 1/2″ berries. Fruit is tart with an intense cherry flavor. It makes amazing preserves. Like most dark fruit they are very high in antioxidants, vitamins, and are anti-inflammatory. Also makes a great cider or wine.

In an urban setting, humans almost always lose the race to harvest ripe fruit to the birds. But if you want to attract birds to your yard, this will do it. In an open lowland setting Chokecherry will grow 15-20 feet tall and can tolerate any amount of pruning to keep it shorter if desired. It wants to colonize so stay on top of the root suckers. Makes a great privacy or barrier thicket if you let it go. Another somewhat similar looking wild cherry called Bitter Cherry is inedible for humans. Both make fantastic food and habitat for birds and pollinating insects.

Here is a link to an interesting study about Chokecherry’s potential usefulness:

We have Chokecherries in 1, 2, and 5 gallon pots. The 5 gal. are eligible for the Tacoma Tree Coupon program.