Tall shrub or small tree with many stems and thin, toothed leaves with beautiful dark red fall colours. Clusters of small purple to black cherries develop in late summer.
|Height and Spread
||1 – 4 m (3 – 13 feet)
||1 – 3 m (3 – 10 feet)
||Creamy white bottle-brush clusters
||May and June
||Late July to August
|Light and Water
||Full sun or partial shade
||Plant in a damp area or water regularly. It will tolerate some dry periods.
||Although the berries are astringent, they are popular eaten fresh, dried, and as a juice. St’at’imc elders distinguish at least two varieties: one has translucent red fruits that are sweet and juicy, and the other has dark purple-black fruits that, unless picked when completely ripe, are astringent, giving a feeling of having swallowed a mouthful of cotton, hence the name “choke” cherry.
||Choke cherry is an excellent bird attractant. It’s a host place for two-tailed swallowtail and coral hairstreak butterflies. Bears enjoy the berries in late July.
||Beautiful when used around riparian areas or landscaped waterways. Useful for smaller properties. Attracts birds.
||When you see a choke cherry you are likely to see white clematis and poison ivy growing close by. The bruised bark gives off a pungent smell and has a bitter taste.