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Is this a Chokecherry? Tree identification  RSS feed

 
pollinator
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Is this Chokecherry or Wild cherry?  This is a pretty little specimen out in the forest. If it's one of these two I'd love to propagate it.  The seed/ stone in my hand was in a tiny withered berry and it's the only one on the tree.

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pollinator
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I'm thinking no for a chokecherry. Their leaves are bigger and more pointed at the end and less serrated from what I recall. Infact, if you scroll down you will see a related "chokecherry thread " with a thumbnail image

Chokecherries around here grow like a tree would, while your picture is more of a shruby thing. The leaf reminds me of a service berry, but the rest of the pics don't.

If you crack open a chokecherry seed, it gives off a "fruit punch" taste. They are also perfectly round, maybe 1/4 inch in size at most and a kind of dark pale white.

Hopefully someone with more expertise can assist you.

 
Scott Foster
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Jarret Hynd wrote:I'm thinking no for a chokecherry. Their leaves are bigger and more pointed at the end and less serrated from what I recall. Infact, if you scroll down you will see a related "chokecherry thread " with a thumbnail image

Chokecherries around here grow like a tree would, while your picture is more of a shruby thing. The leaf reminds me of a service berry, but the rest of the pics don't.

If you crack open a chokecherry seed, it gives off a "fruit punch" taste. They are also perfectly round, maybe 1/4 inch in size at most and a kind of dark pale white.

Hopefully someone with more expertise can assist you.



Thanks Jarret.  Maybe it's a wild cherry of some kind.  The black seed is actually a stone from the berry.  Because it's so late in the season I could only find one berry and it was shriveled.  The berry looked to be dark, maybe a purple.

I have no idea of how the fruit-set looked when fresh.   I was thinking some kind of cherry because of it having a stone versus seeds.
 
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The leaves look a lot like a buckthorn to me. 

IF it's a choke cherry, one feature that narrows it down is that the berries are carried on a raceme.  That's a long stemlet with the berries hanging off of it on individual stems.  So if you pick one raceme, you'd get 10+ berries.  Buckthorn hold their berries on individual stems off of the main twig (like a cherry).  Most cherries I've seen have longer leaves than that.  But the bark does look cherryish to me.

I always recommend getting a couple berry identification books before trying to eat anything.  One I particularly like for the upper Midwest is "Wild Berries and Fruits Field Guide" by Teresa Marrone.  It fits in your pocket and is easy to take along on walks.
 
Scott Foster
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Mike Jay wrote:The leaves look a lot like a buckthorn to me. 

IF it's a choke cherry, one feature that narrows it down is that the berries are carried on a raceme.  That's a long stemlet with the berries hanging off of it on individual stems.  So if you pick one raceme, you'd get 10+ berries.  Buckthorn hold their berries on individual stems off of the main twig (like a cherry).  Most cherries I've seen have longer leaves than that.  But the bark does look cherryish to me.

I always recommend getting a couple berry identification books before trying to eat anything.  One I particularly like for the upper Midwest is "Wild Berries and Fruits Field Guide" by Teresa Marrone.  It fits in your pocket and is easy to take along on walks.




Thanks Jay!  Looks like I will have to wait until next year to find out what it is.  It appeared that the berry was on the twig but there was only one berry left and it was shriveled up. 

We are moving into fall and everything is losing leaves.  Just the shape of the bush makes me think I want it...much prettier in person than the pictures show I think.
 
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I second buckthorn. Leaves, bark and plant habit all look right.
 
Scott Foster
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You guys had me going with buckthorn.  I looked in my Field Guide to Trees of North America and it was really looking like the European Buckthorn. 

There are two things that make me question Buckthorn.  1.  Buckthorn has two or three stones in every fruit.  The fruit on this tree only has one stone. 2.

Check out the pics below of bark from both trees.

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Mike Jay
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Some buckthorns have a "thorn" at the end of the twigs.  While the lack of a thorn doesn't mean it isn't buckthorn, the existence of one would be a strong indicator.  Where in the world do you live?
 
Jarret Hynd
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Do you have Aronia (black chokecherry) where you are? Even though there are some potentially matching characteristics like the Leaves, Seeds and Bark in your pics, I'm doubtful that's it since the one in your pic seems much bigger. But just thought I'd throw my hat in the ring.

They came up a lot in the web results when I was trying to identify the chokecherries in my area awhile ago.

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I'd honestly taste the berry and see if you can identify it from the dried fruit. It might help

(I picked some dried service berries in late sept and they were crunchy, but still had their distinct taste.)

 
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Umm. Please don't taste an unknown plant, or fruit, if you have not yet positively identified it. We need all available permies alive and well! This warning is coming from a self taught forager. Beware!

Oh, and I don't know what the tree/shrub is either
 
Jarret Hynd
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Joylynn Hardesty wrote:Umm. Please don't taste an unknown plant, or fruit, if you have not yet positively identified it. We need all available permies alive and well! This warning is coming from a self taught forager. Beware!

Oh, and I don't know what the tree/shrub is either



Well, I do mushroom hunt, so I understand your concern and it is sound advice that should be exercised. I personally would do it though, and I've read of other Permies member who have done similar(not that this means anything), as taking a micro nibble on a berry which can't really be confused with some other smaller poisonous plants (because of the large seed) is unlikely to be a problem.

Anyways, I'll agree he can identify it without having a taste of it :)  
 
Scott Foster
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Mike Jay wrote:Some buckthorns have a "thorn" at the end of the twigs.  While the lack of a thorn doesn't mean it isn't buckthorn, the existence of one would be a strong indicator.  Where in the world do you live?



I didn't see any thorns.  In NJ, a stone throw from PA and NY.   This tree is actually on a section of the Appalachian Trail really close to the New York Border.
 
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Here is a picture of the cherry/chokecherry on my land in Wyoming. Growing along a creek bed in the aspen understory.

https://permies.com/t/27935/a/54570/thumb-DSCN2399.JPG


And our serviceberry just for comparison.

https://permies.com/t/27935/a/11244/thumb-landbush2.JPG
 
Scott Foster
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Jarret Hynd wrote:Do you have Aronia (black chokecherry) where you are? Even though there are some potentially matching characteristics like the Leaves, Seeds and Bark in your pics, I'm doubtful that's it since the one in your pic seems much bigger. But just thought I'd throw my hat in the ring.

They came up a lot in the web results when I was trying to identify the chokecherries in my area awhile ago.

---

I'd honestly taste the berry and see if you can identify it from the dried fruit. It might help

(I picked some dried service berries in late sept and they were crunchy, but still had their distinct taste.)



Thankks Jarret.  We do have Aronia Berry.  I actually have one in my yard that is immature.    I will do some research tonight and see what I can come up with. 
 
Scott Foster
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Thanks, Mile!  Doesn't look like either one, does it?  The leaves don't match.
 
Miles Flansburg
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Your welcome. I just don't know if there would be regional differences, different species, etc. that might come into play?
 
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