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Nature Almanac: Chokecherries Are Here

The moisture this summer has created a bumper crop of chokecherries which ripen to a dark purple in August and September.
Stephen R. Jones
/
KGNU
The moisture this summer has created a bumper crop of chokecherries which ripen to a dark purple in August and September.

Chokecherries are ripening on Colorado slopes from August through September.

Their deep purple color at this time of year contrasts with the bright red of early spring.

In this audio-postcard, Boulder naturalist Stephen R. Jones, author of the new book, Nourishing Waters, Comforting Sky, and co-author of Butterflies of the Colorado Front Range, explores the chokecherry crop on Boulder's open space.

 Chokecherries bloom in early spring displaying clusters of tight white flowers.
Stephen R. Jones
/
KGNU
Chokecherries bloom in early spring displaying clusters of tight white flowers.

Summer monsoon rains have created a bumper crop of chokecherries this year.

Chokecherries are a favorite of the region's native tribes, including the Arapaho, Cheyenne, Mountain Utes, and Lakota (canpa’-hu.)

While they are growing sweeter at this time of year, these berries are very astringent for much of the summer, giving the reason for their name.

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Shelley Schlender