Prunus virginiana

Click on the images below to see larger versions. 

Scientific Name Prunus virginiana var. demissa or Prunus virginiana var. melanocarpa USDA PLANTS Symbol PRVID
Common Name Western Chokecherry or Black Chokecherry ITIS Taxonomic Serial No. 529893
Family Rosaceae (Rose) SEINet
Description Life zones and habitat: Plains to montane (4000 to 10500 ft.); rocky slopes, open forests, canyon, along streams.
Plant: Shrub up to 11 feet tall; stems and branches without spines/prickles; newer stems reddish.
Leaves: Alternate, deciduous leaves, obovate to elliptic, dark green, smooth upper surfaces with toothed edges; lower surfaces of v. demissa smooth or with short, fine hairs; small hairs along veins of lower surfaces of v. melanocarpa.
Inflorescence: Racemes 1-1/2 to 4 inches long of small white flowers less than 1/2-inch across on short, hairy pedicels, each blossom with 5 white petals.
Bloom Period: April to June.
Fruit: Open clusters of red to black berries (drupes), each about 0.4-inch in diameter.
Note: V. demissa is the ITIS-accepted name, however the literature does not place this variety in Colorado. Other authorities (below) recognize v. melanocarpa as the only variety present in Colorado.
References: "Flora of Colorado" by Jennifer Ackerfield and "Rocky Mountain Plants" by Nelson and Williams.
BONAP Distribution Map
v. var. demissa

Colorado Status:

© Tom Lebsack 2021