Prunus virginiana, commonly called bitter-berry, chokecherry, Virginia bird cherry and western chokecherry(also black chokecherry for P. virginiana var. demissa), is a species of bird cherry (Prunus subgenus Padus) native to North America; the natural historic range of P. virginiana includes most of Canada (including Northwest Territories but excluding Yukon, Nunavut, and Labrador), most of the United States (including Alaska but excluding some states in the Southeast) and northern Mexico (Sonora, Chihuahua, Baja California, Durango, Zacatecas, Coahuila and Nuevo León)
Chokecherry is a suckering shrub or small tree growing to 1–6 m (3 ft 3 in–19 ft 8 in) tall, rarely to 10 m (32 ft 10 in). The leaves are oval, 2.5–9 cm (1–3 1⁄2 in) long and 1.2–5 cm (1⁄2–2 in) wide, with a serrated margin.
The flowers are produced in racemes 4–11 cm (1 1⁄2–4 1⁄4 in) long in late spring (well after leaf emergence). They are 1⁄3–1⁄2 in (8–13 mm) across. They produce a strong heady aroma which some people find to be unpleasantly smelly, while others perceive them to have an aphrodisiac like effect.
The fruits are about 6–14 mm (1⁄4–9⁄16 in) in diameter, range in color from bright red to black, and possess a very astringenttaste, being both somewhat sour and somewhat bitter. When very ripe, the "berries" (actually drupes) are dark in color and less astringent and sweeter than when red and unripe.