Choke Cherry


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British Columbia Outdoor Wilderness Guide
Choke.Jpg

CHOKE CHERRY
Prunus virginiana
  • When eaten, the choke cherry produces a choking sensation
  • 'Virginiana' refers to the area where Choke Cherries were first identified and described

UNIQUE FEATURES:

  • The Choke Cherry is usually a shrub, sometimes a tree
  • Choke Cherries sometimes have twisted or crooked trunk
  • The Choke Cherry has a narrow, irregular crown

LOCATION:

  • The Choke Cherry is found in southern BC, east of the Coast and Cascade mountains
  • The Choke Cherry grows in central and northeastern BC
  • Low to mid elevations
  • Along watercourses, edge of woodlands and thickets

SIZE:

  • 1 to 4 metres tall
  • 1 to 4 metres tall

FRUIT:

  • Round, shiny, black or crimson cherries
  • 15 mm in diameter
  • Edible but bitter, popular with birds

FLOWERS:

  • Small, 5 petaled, white, numerous
  • Cluster at the end of the twig (resembling a bottle brush)
  • Bloom in May and June

LEAVES:

  • Oval-shaped, pointed at tip and blunt base
  • Broadest above the middle with sharply toothed edges
  • 8 to 10 cm long
  • Thin, dull green with a greenish, hairy underside

BARK:

  • Dark reddish-brown to greyish-brown
  • Smooth, doesn't peel readily

USES:

  • Modern - cherries: wine, juice, syrup, jelly
  • Traditional - cherries: food (often dried); wood: handles; bark: tonic, shredded for decorating baskets and as a twine

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Choke Cherry