This perennial spawns a large mass of white flowers that grow into long clusters during early to mid spring. Small ripe berries that range in color from black to purple emerge after the flowers bloom. Dark green and glossy leaves form the final piece of the recognition puzzle.
Chokeberries cause livestock poisoning during acute droughts that result in the overgrazing of land. Hydrocyanic acid comprises the dominate poison found in chokeberries, which means eating large amounts within short intervals cause acute distress.
Chokeberries flourish in damp environments and in very fertile soil. You can find the white flowered, berry producing plant in lush thickets growing on hillsides that mostly face the sun during the height of the day. Canyon slopes also provide ample nutrients for chokeberries to grow.
Some chokeberry plants develop as small shrubs that live among willows, alders, and poplars growing near mountain streams.
The shrubs typically grow to a height of four feet in Arizona, southern Utah and Nevada, and southeastern California. Symptoms of chokecherry poisoning include anxiety, muscular twitching, and rapid breathing. Convulsions signal the poison has advanced to a stage that causes pulmonary and tracheal congestion.