Chokecherry

Chokecherry (Prunus virginiana)
Prunus virginiana

Chokecherry (Prunus virginiana) is a deciduous, thicket-forming shrub or small tree. Estimates for mature height vary widely from 12-40 feet. It bears ½-inch fragrant white flowers in cylindrical clusters, blooming late spring to mid summer. The leaves are oval, serrated, 2-4 inches long and pointed at the tip. The fruit is a ¼-½ inch cherry (drupe) that starts red and becomes purple or black. The fruit is considered edible but quite tart, and is more likely to be used for jellies or wine than eaten raw. The seeds (pits) are considered toxic; they contain cyanide.

Chokecherry is common across the United States with black (var. melanocarpa) and western (var. demissa) varieties occurring natively in Oregon.


  • Light Requirements: Full Sun, Part Shade
  • Water Requirements: Dry, Moist, Seasonally Wet
  • Ease of Growing: Moderate
  • Growth Rate: Moderate
  • Spreads: Yes
  • Wildlife Support: Birds or Mammals
  • Edible: Yes
  • Mature Height: 12-40ft
  • Mature Width: 10-20ft