Excellent Food and Fair Cover 

Choke Cherry – Prunus virginiana


Tall shrub or small tree, to 30 feet tall. 


 Grayish, inner layers with an unpleasant odor. 


Deciduous, alternate, simple oval or oblong, abruptly pointed, margins sharply serrate, 2 to 4 inches long, 1 to 2 inches wide. 


May-June. White in terminal clusters. 


A drupe which turns bright crimson when mature in August and September. 

WV Range

Scattered in state, most common around swamps at the high elevations. 

Wildlife Use

70 species of game and songbirds use fruits which are very important in late summer and early fall. Buds and twigs are eaten by grouse. Fair cover plant. Old dried fruits which hang on the shrubs are excellent survival foods in later winter. 


Uses: Specimen or large clump. Light: Partial to full sun. Soil Moisture: Moist to dry. Well drained. Soil pH: Neutral to acid. Problems: Highly attractive to eastern tent caterpillars, suckers heavily, rabbits girdle plants. 

Compiled by Brian McDonald, botanist, coordinator Natural Heritage Program. West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, Elkins , West Virginia 

Written by West Virginia Native Plant Society members and jointly published with the WV Wildlife Diversity Program