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Choke Cherry
Prunus (Padus) virginiana


Appearance and General Info



Common Name:



The chokecherry plant is an erect shrub approximately 1-4 m tall, with a purplish-grey bark, and small raised horizontal pores. The leaves alternate, and are usually pointy at the tips with a bright green, hairless surface. The flowers are white, fragrant and numerous in terminal, congested and elongated clusters.  The petals are nearly round in shape. The fruit of the chokecherry is shiny and purple or black in color when they are ripe. The fruit hangs in clusters along the long stem.   

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Chokecherry: Medicinal Uses:

The roots and the bark of chokecherry used as a tea are a blood tonic, astringent, sedative, tonic and appetite stimulant. They also contain agents that relieve disorders of the chest and lungs.  The inner bark of the limbs, trunk and root are all very useful and contain the same medicinal properties, although those of the root tend to be stronger. Chokecherry has been proven to be effective in the treatment of both digestive and respiratory problems, aiding in the flow of gastric juices as well as having a soothing and sedative effect on the nervous system. In respiratory affections chokecherry soothes the cough and at the same time gives tone and strength to the system. Externally, the bark can be placed in water for a few days in part sun and then used with advantage for pink eye and other infections of the eye.

Chokecherry: Edible Uses:

The fruit of chokecherry is edible when the berries are dark black.  If the berries are picked when they are still reddish, the choke of the cherry comes on strong.  We harvest them in their prime and use them for making juice, smoothies, macaroon cookies and pies.  The bark and twigs are strong flavored and can be used as a tea substitute. Chokecherry fruit leather is way to preserve these wonderful mineral rich black wild berries year round. Every year in late summer, clusters of these black fruit dangle from drooping branches, offering themselves for collection.