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Choke Cherry


Latin Name: Prunus virginiana


Family: Rosaceae

Native Range: Canada and Northern United States

Seed Source: Choke cherry shelterbelt, near Indian Head Saskatchewan.

Height and Spread: 7m x 4m

Overview: Choke cherry is an excellent choice for agroforestry planting in cold temperate regions. It is a fruitful plant that produces large yields of black cherries. Choke cherries were widely used and important berries for first nations across Canada.

Fruits: Crimson to black fruit borne in clusters, 8-12 mm across. Ripen in August.


Stratification: Stratify in moist sand (10 percent moisture) for 30 days at room temperature (20°C) followed by 120 days at 5°C.

Ideal sowing time: Non-pretreated seed in outdoors in July (will germinate the following spring) or stratified seed in spring.

Sowing instructions: Outdoor seedbed - Sow 2 cm deep and 50 seeds/meter; Greenhouse - sow 3 seeds per cell 1 cm deep.

Growing conditions: Choke cherry will thrive under just about every condition imaginable, except for heavy shade.

Agroforestry Value

Choke cherry  is excellent for field and farmstead shelterbelts, intercropping, reclamation and wildlife habitat plantings. All plants produce fruit which can be used for fruit production. Fruit is astringent but edible and makes excellent juice, syrup or jelly.