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Common Choke Cherry, Chokecherry, Wild Black Cherry, Cabinet Cherry, Rum Cherry, Whiskey Cherry, Black Chokeberry, Caupulin
Prunus virginiana


In Texas the common choke cherry grows on bluffs and rimrock, rocky slopes, sparse woods and even seepage areas from East Texas to the panhandle to the Trans-Pecos. This very widespread plant also ranges into New Mexico, the West Coast and through the Northwest into British Columbia; also through Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana and Georgia, north to Maine and Newfoundland. It may be a small tree or a large shrub with a rounded crown, and tends to form extensive thickets from root sprouts. Crooked branches and slender twigs bear thin-bladed, 1- to 4-inch-long serrulate dark green leaves, lustrous above, paler beneath, having a strong aroma when bruised. The fall color is yellow. The white spring to early summer flowers are held on 3- to 6-inch dense cylindric racemes. They are followed by 1/4- to 1/3-inch-diameter juicy, thick-skinned, astringent and barely edible dark red fruit which ripens to dark purple or black. The fruit makes fine preserves and is also enjoyed by at least 40 species of birds and browsed by black bear and cottontails. The bark is sometimes used to flavor cough syrup. Chokecherry was introduced into cultivation in 1724 and is widely cultivated, planted for ornament and erosion control.

Plant Habit or Use: large shrub
small tree

Exposure: sun
partial sun

Flower Color: white

Blooming Period: spring

Fruit Characteristics: dark red, purple, black cherry

Height: 20 to 30 feet

Width: 18 to 25 feet

Plant Character: deciduous

Heat Tolerance: high

Water Requirements:

Soil Requirements: adaptable

USDA Hardiness Zone: 5

Additional Comments:

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