name = Chokecherry

image_width = 250px
regnum = Plantae
divisio = Magnoliophyta
classis = Magnoliopsida
ordo = Rosales
familia = Rosaceae
subfamilia = Prunoideae
genus = "Prunus"
subgenus = "Padus"
species = "P. virginiana"
binomial = "Prunus virginiana"
binomial_authority = L.

The Chokecherry ("Prunus virginiana") is a species of bird cherry ("Prunus" subgenus "Padus") native to North America, where it is found almost throughout the continent except for the deep south and the far north. It is a suckering shrub or small tree growing to 5 m tall. The leaves are oval, 3-10 cm long, with a coarsely serrated margin. The flowers are produced in racemes of 15-30 in late spring (well after leaf emergence). The fruit are about 1 cm diameter, bright red, with a very astringent, sour taste. Like chokeberries, chokecherries are very high in antioxidant pigment compounds, like anthocyanins.

There are two varieties:
*Common Chokecherry "Prunus virginiana" var. "virginiana". Eastern North America. Leaves hairless underneath or downy only in the vein axils.
*Western Chokecherry "Prunus virginiana" var. "demissa". Western North America. Leaves downy underneath.

The wild Chokecherry is often considered a pest, as it is a host for the tent caterpillar, a threat to other fruit plants. However, there are more appreciated cultivars of the chokecherry, such as 'Goertz', which has a non-astringent, and therefore palatable, fruit. Research is being done at the University of Saskatchewan to find and create new cultivars to increase production and processing [] .Chokecherry is closely related to the Black Cherry ("Prunus serotina") of eastern North America; it is most readily distinguished from that by its smaller size (Black Cherry can reach 30 m tall), smaller leaves, and sometimes red ripe fruit. The Chokecherry leaf has a finely serrated margin and is dark green above with a paler underside, while the Black Cherry leaf has numerous blunt edges along its margin and is dark green and smooth. [Citation
last = Elias
first = Thomas S
author-link =
last2 = Dykeman
first2 =Peter A.
author2-link =
title = Edible Wild Plants A North American Field Guide
place =New York NY
publisher = Sterling Publishing Company Inc.
year = 1990
volume =
edition =
url =
doi =
id =
] , []

The name chokecherry has also been used (as 'Amur Chokecherry') for the related Manchurian Cherry or Amur Cherry ("Prunus maackii").

Chokecherry is toxic to horses, especially after the leaves have wilted (such as after a frost or after branches have been broken) because wilting releases cyanide and makes the plant sweet. About 5-10 kg of foliage can be fatal. Symptoms of a horse that has been poisoned include heavy breathing, agitation, and weakness. The leaves of the chokecherry serve as food for caterpillars of various Lepidoptera. See List of Lepidoptera which feed on "Prunus".

In 2007, Governor John Hoeven signed a bill naming the chokecherry the official fruit of the State of North Dakota.

----The chokeberries, genus "Aronia", are often mistakenly called chokecherries . This naming confusion is easy to understand considering there is a cultivar of the chokecherry "Prunus virginiana" 'Melanocarpa' [] , [] , and a species of chokeberry named "Aronia melanocarpa" [] .



* [ Michigan State University Extension Information Management Program]

See also

* choke pear

External links

* [ Nutrition Facts for Chokecherries]

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Chokecherry — Choke cher ry, n. (Bot.) The astringent fruit of a species of wild cherry ({Prunus Virginiana}); also, the bush or tree which bears such fruit. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • chokecherry — ☆ chokecherry [chōkcher΄ē ] n. pl. chokecherries 1. a North American wild cherry tree (Prunus virginiana) 2. its astringent fruit: Also written choke cherry …   English World dictionary

  • chokecherry — noun 1. the fruit of the chokecherry tree • Hypernyms: ↑fruit • Part Holonyms: ↑chokecherry tree, ↑Prunus virginiana 2. a common wild cherry of eastern North America having small bitter black berries favored by birds • Syn: ↑chokech …   Useful english dictionary

  • chokecherry — /chohk cher ee/, n., pl. chokecherries. Chiefly Northern U.S. 1. any of several cherries, esp. Prunus virginiana, of North America, that bear an astringent fruit. 2. the fruit itself. [1775 85, Amer.; CHOKE + CHERRY] * * * One of several… …   Universalium

  • chokecherry — noun a) Any of several American wild cherry trees, especially Prunus virginiana The youngster loved chokecherry grows both as a bushy shrub and as a tree seldom higher than 22 feet, its branches bending with clusters of darkening red or blackish… …   Wiktionary

  • chokecherry — noun Date: 1784 a wild cherry (Prunus virginiana) of the United States and Canada having bitter or astringent red to black edible fruit; also this fruit …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • chokecherry — choke|cher|ry [ˈtʃəuktʃeri US ˈtʃouk ] n plural chokecherries a North American tree that produces small sour fruit …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • chokecherry — noun (C) a North American tree that produces small sour fruit …   Longman dictionary of contemporary English

  • chokecherry — choke•cher•ry [[t]ˈtʃoʊkˌtʃɛr i[/t]] n. pl. ries. Chiefly Northern U.S. 1) pln any of several cherries, esp. Prunus virginiana, of North America, that bear an astringent fruit 2) pln the fruit itself • Etymology: 1775–85, amer …   From formal English to slang

  • chokecherry — /ˈtʃoʊktʃɛri/ (say chohkcheree) noun (plural chokecherries) 1. any of several species of cherry, especially Prunus virginiana of North America, which bears an astringent fruit. 2. the fruit …   Australian English dictionary