Anishinaabe Word of The Day

Choke cherries (asasawayminaan)

Chokecherry is a suckering shrub or small tree growing to 1–6 metres (3+1219+12 feet) tall, rarely to 10 m (33 ft) and exceptionally wide, 18 m (60 ft) with a trunk as thick as 30 centimetres (12 in).[4] The leaves are oval, 2.5–10 cm (1–4 in) long and 1.2–5 cm (12–2 in) wide, with a serrated margin.[5] The stems rarely exceed 2 cm (34 in) in length.[6]

The flowers are produced in racemes 4–11 cm (1+124+14 in) long in late spring (well after leaf emergence), eventually growing up to 15 cm.[4] They are 8.5–12.7 millimetres (3812 in) across.[7][8]

The fruits (drupes) are about 6–14 mm (1412 in) in diameter, range in color from bright red to black, and possess a very astringent taste, being both somewhat sour and somewhat bitter. They get darker and marginally sweeter as they ripen.[5] They each contain a large stone.[6]


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Chokecherries were an important food staple for many indigenous peoples of North America.  Berries were eaten raw or dried and mixed with pemmican.  The Jicarilla Apaches ground dried chokecherries and pressed them into cakes for use during the winter months (Niethammer, 58).  Fresh fruit was mashed and made into jelly and syrup or fermented into cherry wine.  Even the roots and bark were consumed in the form of tea (Scully, 26).


Related Words


asasawemin ni a chokecherry

chokecherry bush

asasaweminagaawanzh na a chokecherry bush or tree

chokecherry jelly

asasawemini-baashkiminasigan ni chokecherry sauce, chokecherry jelly

chokecherry sauce

asasawemini-baashkiminasigan ni chokecherry sauce, chokecherry jelly

chokecherry tea
asasaweminaaboo ni chokecherry tea