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Species: Prunus virginiana

History: Chokecherry is native to most of North America and has a long history of usage among various indigenous peoples in Canada and the US. It is used to make a traditional food called pemmican, the root has medicinal uses, and the inner bark is used in some ceremonial smoking mixtures. There are some named cultivars and the University of Saskatchewan is working to develop more productive varieties.  

Why We Grow It: The small, dark purple fruits are quite astringent and have a large stone, earning them their name! This understory shrub can be used in agroforestry settings where the berries can be enjoyed by wildlife or made into jam or even wine by humans! The spikes of white flowers are also quite lovely.

Canadian Hardiness Zone: 5

Soil Preference: Prefers loam but adaptable to different soils

Growth Habits and Disease Resistance: Small tree that usually reaches 1-6m in height but can grow up to 10m. Can be a host for black knot.

Sun/Shade: Shade tolerant (approx. 3-6 hours of sun daily)

Pollination: Somewhat self-pollinating but do better with another chokecherry planted nearby

Flowering Time: May to June

Bloom Colour: White

Ripens: Late August

Recommended Use: Preserves, wine

Height above soil line: 45cm+

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