Name: Prunus virginiana aka choke cherry
Type of Plant: A tree native to much of North America. It’s one of the most important trees for wildlife, yet many people don’t give it a second glance or much respect. Choke cherry trees grow to 20 or 30 feet tall, often fitting in with oaks and other native trees. They frequently take on bent or quirky shapes, which makes them even more beautiful as they get older.
Why I Love This Plant: I love this tree because it supports over 400 species of butterflies and moths, not to mention many species of birds and other animals. I love the white, bottlebrush flowers that fill the plant in late May and early June, the craggy dark brown bark, and the lovely yellow fall foliage color in October.
A Word to the Wise: Too often these trees are cut down without thought. I encourage you to save them whenever possible. Birds plant the their seeds and young saplings spring up all over the place – when you have one that is growing where it can get large, leave it be.