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How to Identify Choke Cherry Trees

A chokecherry tree makes a striking ornamental tree in a sunny landscape, with its white blossoms in the spring and dense, green foliage covering the tree canopy throughout the growing season. As the summer wanes and autumn begins, the green leaves begin a spectacular showing by gradually becoming red and then a deep maroon or purple color. You can readily identify a chokecherry tree by its blossoms, foliage, fruit and bark.

Visit the CalPhotos database website to view a variety of photographs of the different parts of a chokecherry tree. You will see photographs of the white blossoms clustered on the tree stems, the cherries as they grow and develop on the tree (changing from a bright red color to a purple color) and the green foliage of the chokecherry tree.

Identify a chokecherry tree by its size and growth patterns. A chokecherry tree may grow to between 20 and 30 feet tall and 20 and 25 feet wide. These trees often grow into tall, upright trees with oval canopies. The average diameter of a chokecherry tree trunk ranges between 4 and 8 inches. Some chokecherry trees more resemble a shrub than a tree with numerous central stems instead of a single trunk.

Notice the shape of the chokecherry leaves--distinctly oval shaped with pointed tips and serrated edges. The bark of a chokecherry tree is often a gray color.

Find chokecherry trees growing in areas receiving full sunlight. Chokecherry trees grow readily throughout USDA Zones 2 through 9. Chokecherry trees are not particular about growing conditions and will often grow well even in inadequate soil conditions.


You may also identify a chokecherry tree by a fungal infection common to these trees. When black knot infects a chokecherry tree, you will find black growths covering the twigs and branches of the tree.

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