Family:
Rosaceae
Toxins:
cyanogenic glycosides
Flower Color:
  • flower color
Found:
fields, waterside, upland, ornamental, gardens

Time of Greatest Risk

JFMAMJJASOND

Geographical Distribution

Chokecherry  distribution - United States

Related Species

Chokecherry

Prunus virginiana

Wild Cherry, Black Cherry, Sweet Cherry
7/ 10
Chokecherry (Prunus virginiana) is a perennial, deciduous, woody, thicket-forming large erect shrub or small tree. It has dark green, glossy leaves that are oval to broadly elliptical in shape with toothed margins. They are arranged alternatively and turn yellow during the autumn season.
Choke cherry toxic horses
P. virginiana initially has gray to reddish brown bark which as it ages, turns darker into a brownish-black color. In the spring, it produces aromatic flowers from April to July. A couple months after blossoming, it develops dark red to black colored sperical drupes of berries.

Toxic components
All parts of P. virginiana contain amygdalin and prunasin, which are cyanogenic glycosides. Horses only need to ingest a small amount of P. virginiana to be poisoned. The toxicity increases if leaves are damaged or stressed from frost, storms, drought or seasonal wilting. Consumption of 0.25% of the horse's weight (2.5 lb for a 1000-lb horse) of fresh green leaves can be fatal.