CHOKE CHERRY
File Size: 75 KB
 
Prunus virginiana  L.
Konza Prairie, Riley County, Kansas
Height: 6-18 feet
Family: Rosaceae - Rose Family
Flowering Period:   April, May
Trunks: Ascending to erect; often forming thickets; bark of young trees reddish-brown, lenticels conspicuous, bark of old trees dark brown, often furrowed, scaly.
Twigs: Twigs reddish-brown or dark brown, without thorns, glabrous; buds brown, scales with gray edge, conical, 1/6 to 1/3 inch long, pointed; leaf scars small, half-round.
Leaves: Alternate, simple, deciduous; stipule narrowly lanceolate, 1/12 to 1/6 inch; petiole 2/5 to 1 inch, often with 2 red glands near the blade base; blade ovate to obovate, 1.6 to 4.8 inches long, 1.2 to 2.4 inches wide, wider toward outer end, base cuneate to rounded, margins finely toothed, tip acute to acuminate, surfaces glabrous or pubescent along abaxial veins, glabrous adaxially, dark green above, paler below.
Flowers: Raceme, dense, 15-80-flowered, 2 to 3 inches long, borne at end of new stems, usually occurring with the leaves; pedicels 1/8 to 1/4 inch, pubescent. Flowers ca. .28 inch across, hypanthium campanulate, 1/20 to 1/15 inch, glabrous; sepals 5, triangular to orbiculate, 1/25 to 1/20 inch, margins glandular-serrate; petals 5, white, orbiculate, 1/8 to 1/6 inch; stamens 20-30; pistil 1.
Fruit: July; drupes, dark reddish purple, globose, .28 to .45 inch wide, in drooping clusters 4 to 5 inches long; stone oval, .26 to .29 inch.
Habitat: Oak-hickory woodlands, roadsides, fencerows, thickets, prairie slopes and ravines
Distribution: Statewide, but more common in central and western Kansas
Origin: Native
Uses: Native Americans took an infusion of bark for coughs, colds, and fevers and used juice from the fruits to treat diarrhea and sore throats.
Comments: Prunus, ancient Latin name for plum. Kansas plants belong to var. virginiana, which is widespread in eastern North America. The wood is reddish-brown, hard, and heavy.

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