Plant DetailShow Menu

Prunus virginiana

Phonetic Spelling
PROO-nus vir-jin-ee-AN-uh
This plant has low severity poison characteristics.
See below
Description

Prunus virginiana is a large native deciduous shrub or a small tree.  Growing in the wild, it can form thickets, which can become very dense.  The spread can originate from the shallow, spreading root system that may form additional plants from the lengthy underground runners.  In the wild, it can be found growing in multiple growing conditions in woodlands, ravines, slopes, thickets, and open fields.

When immature, the berries have a puckered texture.  These berries have a bitter taste, giving this plant the common name chokeberry.  

An important plant for wildlife.  The fruits, leaves, seeds, and twigs are used by animals both large and small.  Large animals including bear, moose, coyotes, bighorn sheep browse the foliage.  Birds eat the fruits, while chipmunks, mice, and squirrels eat the seeds.   It is also a host plant for many insects that can destroy the foliage, wood, sap, flowers, and fruit while feeding.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  The branches can become damaged and break during ice storms.  New growth, wilted leaves, and plants that are damaged are poisonous to cattle and to humans.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Canada Red'
'Canada Red'
Tags:
#native tree#shade tolerant#deciduous shrub#native shrub#NC native#cold tolerant#native#problem for cats#problem for dogs#problem for horses
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Canada Red'
'Canada Red'
Tags:
#native tree#shade tolerant#deciduous shrub#native shrub#NC native#cold tolerant#native#problem for cats#problem for dogs#problem for horses
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Prunus
    Species:
    virginiana
    Family:
    Rosaceae
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Northern America
    Wildlife Value:
    Large and small animals browse the foliage. Birds eat the fruits and gather twigs and foliage for nexting.
    Play Value:
    Attracts Pollinators
    Wildlife Cover/Habitat
    Wildlife Food Source
    Wildlife Nesting
    Dimensions:
    Height: 20 ft. 0 in. - 30 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 18 ft. 0 in. - 25 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Native Plant
    Shrub
    Tree
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Dense
    Oval
    Rounded
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Soil pH:
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    NC Region:
    Mountains
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    2a, 2b, 3b, 3a, 4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6b, 6a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Black
    Red/Burgundy
    Fruit Description:
    The red fruit turns black when ripe.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Raceme
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Shape:
    Tubular
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Each petal is oval to orbicular in shape and concave. The green sepals become yellow giving the white flower a yellowish look.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Obovate
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    1.5 to 5 in. egg-shaped leaves with the edge being Serrate. The leaves may fall off in the winter, or remain on the plant in a withered state. Each leaf tapers into a long slender tip. Minimal hair may be found along the veins on the underside of the leaf. When crushed, the leaves have a strong bitter scent.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Dark Brown
    Dark Gray
    Bark Description:
    A mature tree has a bark that is thin and smooth.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Gray/Silver
    Purple/Lavender
    Red/Burgundy
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Description:
    The winter color can be brown, gray, purple, or red.
  • Landscape:
    Problems:
    Problem for Cats
    Problem for Dogs
    Problem for Horses
  • Poisonous to Humans:
    Poison Severity:
    Low
    Poison Symptoms:
    Stems, leaves, seeds contain cyanide, particularly toxic in the process of wilting: brick red mucous membranes, dilated pupils, difficulty breathing, panting, shock.
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    Cyanogenic glycosides
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    No
    Poison Part:
    Leaves
    Seeds
    Stems