Choke Cherry Prunus virginiana
Family: Rosaceae (Rose)
Cherry is a very common shrub along edges and in the understory.
Like other cherries, birches, and some other species, the bud scales
are lighter toward the edges, giving them a sort of two-toned
colouration. Its buds can look similar to Black Cherry
(though they are
bigger), but its bark usually lacks the characteristic horizontal markings of other
cherries. The markings are still there, but they are elongated vertically instead, and look more like
small blemishes. As the bark ages, it sometimes develops linear
ridges. All cherries (and others in the genus Prunus) have a very
distinctive smell when the twigs are broken. Also, cherries
(along with Oaks) are the two main groups that often have a cluster of
buds at the end, though this is very rare with Choke Cherry. The
buds look similar to Birch buds as well, as the bud scales have a
Choke Cherry twig and end bud.
Another view of the end bud
Twigs of the three main native cherries. From left to right (2 twigs of each): Choke, Black, and Pin
Young bark, showing the common markings on the bark
Older bark sometimes develops this vertical striping. The green colour isn't typical, though.
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© 2008 Josh Sayers
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