If it’s past Juneberry season, and getting towards fall, but you see a plant bearing berries that look a lot like Juneberries/Wípažukȟa (or Saskatoon berries, for the Canadians), you’re probably looking at a Chokeberry, or Aronia berry, bush. I took this pic last August:
As you can see, they’re definitely not identical to Juneberries. To explain a few differences I notice in non-botanical terms:
-The leaf shape is different.
-The serrations (teeth) go around the entire leaf, unlike Juneberries
-The bottoms of the fruit are indented, almost in a star shape, but the bottom of a Juneberry pokes out a little bit.
-Each chokeberry hangs from its own individual stem, but Juneberries hang in clusters.
-Since chokeberries are not a wild plant, I have only ever seen them around homes, homesteads, campuses and human-created landscapes — I have never seen one growing wild on the prairie. (If you’ve seen one that escaped cultivation and planted itself wild, I would love to know! Please comment on this post.)
They’re native to Europe, but people tend to plant them ornamentally in the Dakotas. While I don’t think they taste nearly as good as Juneberries, they are definitely edible, and full of antioxidants. (You might want to taste them before you fill a bucket, just to make sure you like the flavor.) They are in the same family as roses (Rosaceae), and I usually see them ripening in August on Standing Rock.