Comprehensive Description

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Description

Chokecherry is a native, perennial, deciduous thicket-forming, large erect shrub or small tree. It is a fast grower and ranges from about 3 to 30 ft (0.9 to 9 m) in height. The crown is irregular in shape. Leaves: The leaves are alternate, oval-shaped, with fine teeth along the margins. They are glossy green on the tops and paler green underneath. Leaves start to emerge in early spring. Leaves start to change color which develop into shallow grooves with maturity. Flowers: Flowers are characteristic of the Rose family, with 5 white petals and many stamens. They are aromatic and showy. Individual flowers are 0.25 to 0.5 in (0.6 to 1.25 cm) long; clusters of flowers form 5 to 6 in (12.5 to 15 cm) long racemes (a structure where the oldest flowers are near the base and the newest flowers emerge as the shoot grows; racemes have indeterminate growth). Flowers start appearing before the leaves are fully developed, from April to July. Fruits: Fruits are drupes (fleshy fruit with a stone in the center) and are generally found in clusters. Small ripe cherries range in color from dark red to bluish-purple to almost black. Fruits form a couple of months after the flowers emerge. Bark: Bark of young trees may vary from gray to a reddish brown. As it ages the bark turns darker, into brownish black and becomes noticeably furrowed. Bark is distinctly marked by horizontal rows of raised air pores (lenticels) which develop into shallow grooves with maturity. Chokecherry is present in a variety of habitats and may become weedy. It prefers to grow in aspen groves, scrub, oak/pine woodlands, coniferous forests, ravines, rocky slopes, canyons, and along the edges of creeks. It is mostly found on moist soils, but can be found in old fields, uncultivated field edges, and dry, exposed sites. It can also grow well on sandy soils. Chokecherry prefers full sun to partial shade and is intolerant of full shade.

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© Project BudBurst, National Ecological Observatory Network, Inc.

Source: Project BudBurst

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