Canada Red Chokecherry
SCIENTIFIC NAME: Prunus virginiana
Hardiness Zones 2 to 6.
Growth habit Tree has a round open habit as a both a young and mature tree. With a desirable shape this small ornamental is a good choice for parks and planting beds. As at single stem tree it is 25 foot tall by 25 foot wide at maturity.
Foliage Young emerging leaves are bright green turning to a deep maroon color as they mature. There are other ornamentals with deep red colored leaves but none have the striking multi-colored look of this tree as the new leaves emerge in late spring contrasting with the older reddish-colored leaves.
Flowers Flowers appear as a long descending stalk in the spring just as the leaves are emerging. They are a white to pale yellow and very aromatic. The tree is covered with flowers and very showy.
Fruit Fruit is round about ⅓ inch in diameter and dark purple at maturity. This fruit is a favorite food of wildlife, especially birds. The fruit is edible and can be used to make jellies, jams or for baking.
Bark The main trunk is nearly smooth and also gray in color.
Twigs Branches on young and old stems are gray in color.
Insects and diseases Some observed pests include aphids and gummosis, which is usually caused by the Cytospora canker fungus.
Landscape value This tree’s desirable characteristics include adaptability to various soil types, a tolerance of a wide range of temperatures, wildlife friendly fruit, aromatic blossoms, and attractive dark red foliage. There is one distinct disadvantage to planting this ornamental. It does sucker from the root crown and the roots. In the nursery trade it is usually sold as a single-trunked tree, but suckers will eventually appear at the base. This suckering habit does not detract from the tree’s overall landscape value, but it cannot be ignored. Therefore it should be planted in an area where the suckering growth habit can be tolerated like in a planter bed, open space or park.
Michael Dirr, Manual of Woody Landscape Plants (University of Georgia, 1990)