Choke Cherry: Prunus virginiana

While the last blossoms of the Choke Cherry shrubs, which line the road near our home, have faded away their sweet smell still lingers in my head. Most of June was filled with that sweet smell as different bushes bloomed at different times of the month and thus we were treated to a wonderful progression of fragrance and sights.

The astringent fruits and even the leaves and branches of the Choke Cherry are considered an important food plant for wildlife. Both large and small mammals as well as birds utilize Choke Cherry for food. In addition to food Choke Cherry provides wildlife habitat and protection for watershed in the areas in which it grows.

Human uses include Chokecherry Jams, wine as well a medicinal uses by native cultures. New growth on the leaves can be toxic to humans and cattle especially those leaves injured by frost or draught. So do not eat the leaves.

While the fruits are quite useful it is always the blossoms that take the cake for me and somehow posting on Choke Cherry seems a fitting thing to do on the forth of July.

References:
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.
United States Department of Agriculture.