At Native Forest Nursery we grow bare root seedlings and #3 container trees. Our container trees are grown in a #3 air pruned pot. This root making container eliminates nearly all potential for root wrapping. This allows for an excellent root structure and delivers an extremely healthy tree. The bare root seedlings at our nursery are grown in a sandy loam soil with high organic matter content, which provides an extremely healthy environment for our seedlings. Our bare root liners and seedlings are hand lifted, packaged, and kept in cold storage until you are ready to plant. Conservation uses for our products include reclamation, mitigation, reforestation, restoration, wildlife habitat improvement and wetland uses. Horticultural uses for our products include field liners, container liners, landscape plantings, budding stock, grafting stock and ornamental uses.

Family: Rosaceae
Latin Name: Prunus virginiana
Foliage: Dark green
Fall Foliage: Dark red to purple
Bloom: White
Bloom Time: April to May
Shape: Rounded to irregular
Bark: Brownish gray
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Zone: Zone 2 to Zone 7
Size: 20 to 30 feet
Spread: 15 to 20 feet
Care: Medium, well drained soil

The Chokecherry is said to have been first cultivated in North America in 1724, as an orchard crop. A siren temptress of a plant, its aromatic and symmetrical blossoms are quite alluring—while the leaves, bark, stems, and seed pits are poisonous (keep livestock away!) due to the plant’s production of cyanide. The meaty flesh of the fruit itself is not toxic; it is in fact popularly cultivated to create (along with great amounts of added sugar) preserves, jellies, syrups, wines, and juices, ranking the Chokecherry as an important commercial fruit tree. As of 2007, it also serves as the official fruit of the state of North Dakota.

Considering that it has a hardiness zone rating of 2-7, it’s no surprise that the Chokecherry can be found throughout most of Canada, northern Mexico, and all over the majority of the northern United States, including Alaska. The Chokecherry—also known as the “Bitter-berry”, “Virginia Bird Cherry”, “Western Chokecherry” and “Black Chokecherry”—belongs to the family Rosaceae. Its binomial name is Prunus Virginiana.

This plant can be considered a very tall shrub or small tree, growing to heights of 20-30 ft. and spreading out to 15-20 ft. It thrives best in medium well-drained soils and enjoys full sun to partial shade; the Chokecherry’s crown is sometimes rounded and sometimes irregular. Deciduous in nature, its leaves are oval, coarsely serrated, and dark green during the warmer months. In the autumn, these leaves turn rich shades of scarlet, burgundy, and purple. The tree’s bark is brownish-gray, and it darkens and furrows with age.

The Chokecherry is sometimes confused with its close relative, the Black Cherry, but it is distinguished by its smaller size, smaller leaves, and the redder hue of its berries. Its white blossoms appear in April and May, later giving way to spherical fruit that ranges in color from scarlet to black. The Chokecherry’s berries darken and actually become less sweet once they ripen; though tempting to behold, the taste of the fruit is very astringent, an alchemy of sour and bitter.

Mature Tree Photos: