South Dakota Native Plant Research
Prunus virginiana

Scientific Name

Prunus virginiana


Download Seed: Chokecherry seeds with fruit removed collected near Brookings, S.D. in July. (1 KB)

Download Seedling: Seedling of chokecherry planted in garden at Oak Lake Research Station near Brookings, S.D. (57 KB)

Download Vegetative: Leaves are 4-10 cm long. (71 KB)

Download Flowering: Flowers emerge after the leaves. (96 KB)

Download Fruiting: The dark purple fruit is quite bitter. (315 KB)

Family Name


Common Name


Native American Name

Lakota: Canpa


Prunus virginiana is a(n) deciduous shrub or small tree, which grows 10 m to 15 m in height. This species is commonly found rich soils, thickets, fence rows, roadsides, borders of woods, sandy and rocky soil on hillsides and ravine banks from Newfoundland to British Columbia, south to south California, New Mexico, Kansas, Illinois, Maryland, and south in mountains to Georgia. The leaves are alternate ovate to broadly obovate. Prunus virginiana has white white flowers that bloom from April to May.

Additional Notes

*In the 1980's Native Americans on the Lake Traverse Reservation began to document "Cha pa" in this format

Horticulture Notes

Seed Collection: Collect fruit July to Aug. when black
Germination: Fall sow or stratification
Vegetative Propagation: Softwood cuttings
Soils: Prefers sandy, well drained soils
Light: Full sun
Water: Moderate moisture avoid extreme dry areas
Notes: Clean seed by removing flesh. Store seed in cool, dry place.

Prunus virginiana