Shrubs - Chokecherry
Shrub or small tree 5 to 20 feet tall with smooth bark and dark green ovate leaves. Sweet smelling blossoms yield clusters of dark red fruits in late June/early July. Fruits were harvested by Plains Indians for use in preparing pemmican, a winter staple food which combined fruit, meat (usually bison, elk, or deer) and fat. Juice from the crushed fruits was given to a husband or favorite child as a treat, and sticks were used to season meat during roasting. Attesting to the significance of chokecherries as a food source, Dakota refer to the full moon of July as “black cherry moon.” Settlers prepared sweet treats (preserves, syrups) made from chokecherries combined with a lot of sugar. Chokecherries may also be eaten raw, though the pits contain hydrocyanic acid.
Did You Know?
Alvin McDonald was the first systematic explorer of Wind Cave. He explored the cave from 1890 until his death in 1893. More...