Chokecherry (Prunus virginiana)
- (Prunus virginiana) The 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), smaller leaves, and sometimes red ripe fruit. The chokecherry can be grown as a shrub or trained as a single trunk tree up to about. For many Native American tribes of the Northern Rockies, Northern Plains, and boreal forest region of Canada and the United States, chokecherries were the most important fruit in their diets. The bark of chokecherry root was once made into an asperous-textured concoction used to ward off or treat colds, fever and stomach maladies. The inner bark of the chokecherry, as well as red osier dogwood, or alder, was also used by Native Americans in their smoking mixtures, known as kinnikinnick, to improve the flavor. Do not keep with livestock. The chokecherry fruit can be used to make a tasty jam, jelly, or syrup, but the astringent nature of the fruit requires sugar to sweeten the preserves. Ripening to the black stage from red improves sweetness. Easy to grow, good for wildlife and birds and drought tolerant when established. 4’-5’ branched trees.