Tiny white petals carried by the wind create an illusion of summer snow. While leading a Ohio Garden Club nature group at Camp Otyokwah last week, we were treated to a "blizzard. " It was a vision worthy of a poet's haiku- I'll spare you, and leave the honor open for Bill Thompson III.
The flowering tree is a Choke Cherry, Prunus virginiana, an Ohio native known to virtually every county. Not one you'll find in a box-store landscape department, but a favorite of many species of wildlife. The name refers to the small, astringent fruit. While it is not palatable to humans, birds really "flock" to it. :)
Cherry blossoms attract many insects during their bloom, which creates a magnetic effect for migrating warblers. Add the fact its fruit is irresistible to Cedar Waxwings and it is a host plant for several species of lepidoptera. Red-spotted Purple, Tiger Swallowtail, and IO moth all utilize this Prunus species. Plant a few in your yard and you have the perfect tool for enticing wildlife.