Page authors: Don Knoke, David Giblin
Prunus virginiana
common chokecherry, western chokecherry, white chokecherry

Distribution: Widely distributed on both sides of the Cascades crest in Washington; British Columbia to California, east across North America to the Atlantic Coast.

Habitat: Thickets, open forest, shorelines, rocky slopes, and roadsides.

Flowers: May-July

Origin: Native

Growth Duration: Perennial

Conservation Status: Not of concern

Pollination: Bumblebees, bees, flies, beetles


Deciduous, erect shrubs or small trees, 1-5 m. tall, the bark purplish-gray.


Leaf blades elliptic to oblong-obovate, finely serrate, 4-10 cm. long, bright green and glabrous on the upper surface, paler and glabrous to pubescent beneath.


Inflorescence a terminal, pendant, many-flowered raceme, the uniform pedicels 4-8 mm. long; calyx glabrous, the 5 lobes spreading to recurved, oval, finely glandular, 1-1.5 mm. long; petals 5, creamy white, sub-orbicular, early-deciduous, 4-6 mm. long; stamens about 25; pistil 1.


Drupe ovoid, 8-11 mm. long, red to purple or black.

Accepted Name:
Prunus virginiana L.
Publication: Sp. Pl. 1: 473. 1753.

Synonyms & Misapplications:
Cerasus demissa Nutt.
Cerasus demissa Nutt. var. melanocarpa A. Nelson
Padus demissa Roem.
Padus melanocarpa (A. Nelson) Shafer
Padus virginiana (L.) Mill. ssp. melanocarpa (A. Nelson) W.A. Weber
Padus virginiana (L.) Mill. var. demissa (Schneid.) Torr.
Prunus demissa (Nutt.) Walp.
Prunus demissa (Nutt.) D. Dietr. f. leiodisca Koehne
Prunus demissa (Nutt.) D. Dietr. f. trichodisca Koehne
Prunus demissa (Nutt.) Walp. var. melanocarpa (A. Nelson) A. Nelson
Prunus demissa var. nuttallii f. howellii
Prunus melanocarpa (A. Nelson) Rydb.
Prunus pinetorum Suksd.
Prunus virginiana L. ssp. demissa (Nutt.) Roy L. Taylor & MacBryde
Prunus virginiana L. ssp. melanocarpa (A. Nelson) Roy L. Taylor & MacBryde
Prunus virginiana L. var. demissa (Nutt.) Torr. [HC]
Prunus virginiana L. var. melanocarpa (A. Nelson) Sarg. [HC]
Additional Resources:

PNW Herbaria: Specimen records of Prunus virginiana in the Consortium of Pacific Northwest Herbaria database

WA Flora Checklist: Prunus virginiana checklist entry

OregonFlora: Prunus virginiana information

E-Flora BC: Prunus virginiana atlas page

CalPhotos: Prunus virginiana photos

96 photographs:
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