The berries, red to dark purple almost black, grow in dense clusters, are astringent, and not suitable for consumption without processing. They are high in antioxidants, but are toxic without processing. All other portions of the chokecherry plant are toxic, and should not be consumed.
Chokecherry bushes are suckering bushes that can grow tree like, to heights of 16 feet. Leaves can be up to 4 inches long. They are heavy fruit bearers, weight of fruit clusters cause the limbs droop in late summer and fall.
The fruits can be processed with sugar to make a syrup or jam, with a pleasant flavor, similar to a black cherry or boysenberry.
Chokecherry fruits were also dried and hammered into pemmican by native cultures. Pemmican recipes often include a combination of sugar, dried or smoked meats, lard or fats, and is hammered together.
Although similarly named, and distantly related in the Rosacea family, Chokecherry(Prunus Virginiana) should not be confused with Chokeberry(Aronia).