Red Chokeberry (Aronia arbutifolia 'Brilliantissima')

Botanical names:
Aronia arbutifolia Accepted
Photinia pyrifolia Synonym

General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Shrub
Life cycle: Perennial
Sun Requirements: Full Sun
Full Sun to Partial Shade
Water Preferences: Wet
Wet Mesic
Mesic
Soil pH Preferences: Strongly acid (5.1 – 5.5)
Moderately acid (5.6 – 6.0)
Slightly acid (6.1 – 6.5)
Neutral (6.6 – 7.3)
Minimum cold hardiness: Zone 4a -34.4 °C (-30 °F) to -31.7 °C (-25 °F)
Maximum recommended zone: Zone 9b
Plant Height: 6-8 feet
Plant Spread: 4-6 feet
Leaves: Good fall color
Unusual foliage color
Deciduous
Other: Glossy, dark green leaves (to 3" long) are grayish-green beneath. Foliage turns bright red in autumn.
Fruit: Showy
Edible to birds
Other: Best fruit production usually occurs in full sun. Attractive glossy red berries (3/8" diameter). Fruits ripen in late summer and persist throughout fall and well into winter. Fruits are sometimes used to make tasty jams and jellies.
Fruiting Time: Late summer or early fall
Fall
Late fall or early winter
Winter
Flowers: Showy
Blooms on old wood
Flower Color: White
Other: White to pinkish
Flower Time: Spring
Suitable Locations: Bog gardening
Uses: Windbreak or Hedge
Provides winter interest
Erosion control
Water gardens
Will Naturalize
Wildlife Attractant: Bees
Resistances: Flood Resistant
Toxicity: Other: Tart and bitter berries which are technically edible but so astringent as to cause choking in those who try.
Propagation: Other methods: Cuttings: Stem
Stolons and runners
Pollinators: Various insects
Miscellaneous: Tolerates poor soil
Monoecious

fruited stem in winter

Photo gallery:
Location: Wayne, PennsylvaniaDate: 2019-01-13fruited stem in winter
By ILPARW
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Location: West Chester, PennsylvaniaDate: 2009-10-26crown of maturing shrub in fall color
By ILPARW
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Location: Downingtown, PennsylvaniaDate: 2010-11-11red fall color of leaves with red fruit
By ILPARW
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Location: Batavia, IllinoisDate: December 1984close-up of red fruit in winter
By ILPARW
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Location: Wayne, PennsylvaniaDate: November 2014autumn color of maturing shrubs
By ILPARW
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Location: Wayne, PennsylvaniaDate: 2019-01-13three shrubs together, full-grown, in winter
By ILPARW
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Location: Downingtown, PennsylvaniaDate: 2019-03-05spent old fruit in late winter-early spring
By ILPARW
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Location: Natural Area in Northeastern IndianaDate: 2011-10-03
By chelle
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Location: Downingtown, PennsylvaniaDate: 2019-03-05reddish sharp buds in late winter
By ILPARW
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Location: My Northeastern Indiana Gardens - Zone 5bDate: 2012-04-19
By chelle
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Location: West Chester, PennsylvaniaDate: 2011-10-10red fruit just before the coming of fall color
By ILPARW
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Location: West Chester, PennsylvaniaDate: 2010-04-24full-grown shrub in bloom
By ILPARW
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Location: Wayne, PennsylvaniaDate: 2016-05-09three young shrubs together in bloom
By ILPARW
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Location: Downingtown, PennsylvaniaDate: 2012-04-19close-up of flower clusters
By ILPARW
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Location: Wayne, PennsylvaniaDate: 2017-10-07whitish under leaves from whitish hairy surface
By ILPARW
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Location: My Northeastern Indiana Gardens - Zone 5Date: 2011-09-28Summer leaves. Autumn leaves are tones of  light and dark reds.
By chelle
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Location: Natural Area in Northeastern IndianaDate: 2011-10-05
By chelle
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Location: My Northeastern Indiana Gardens - Zone 5bDate: 2012-03-07Branch tip section with buds - late winter, early spring
By chelle
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Location: My Northeastern Indiana Gardens - Zone 5bDate: 2012-03-19Emergent leaf
By chelle
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Location: My Northeastern Indiana Gardens - Zone 5bDate: 2012-04-19
By chelle
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Location: near West Chester, PennsylvaniaDate: 2011-06-06full-grown plant at foundation, in middle
By ILPARW
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Location: Wayne, PennsylvaniaDate: 2017-08-01full-grown plant in a church landscape
By ILPARW
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Location: Downingtown, PennsylvaniaDate: 2017-04-26 a line of maturing shrubs in bloom
By ILPARW
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Location: Wayne, PennsylvaniaDate: 2015-12-13maturing shrubs in fruit
By ILPARW
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Location: West Chester, PennsylvaniaDate: 2011-12-05full-grown shrub in fruit
By ILPARW
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Location: Wayne, PennsylvaniaDate: 2018-05-11a ground sucker in bloom a few feet from shrub
By ILPARW
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Comments:
Posted by Newyorkrita (North Shore, Long Island, NY ) on Sep 5, 2013 3:28 PM

Brilliantissima is a variety of red fruited chokecherry. The berries start out green and by late fall are a brilliant vivid red color. I originally bought this shrub to produce berries to attract the backyard songbirds, but I have never seen any birds eat the fruit.

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Posted by ILPARW (southeast Pennsylvania - Zone 6b) on Nov 18, 2017 9:44 PM

This Brilliant Red Chokeberry (Aronia arbutifolia "Brilliantissima') is the common form of this species that I have seen around so far. I think that I have seen a few wild specimens of the mother species near Williamsburg, Virginia, at the Colonial Plantation at Ridley Creek State Park in southeast PA, and young plants coming up in Volo Bog in northeast Illinois. This cultivar was selected for its great red fall color and slightly larger and more abundant fruit than the mother species. This species has beautiful smooth, gray bark, lovely smooth foliage, good fall color, pretty white flowers, and is a clean plant. It does send out some ground suckers around it, and the wetter the soil, the more suckering. The red fruit is very bitter all autumn and winter, but the birds, that don't really like the taste most of the time, will finally eat some when really needy in late winter - early spring. I saw a small flock of robins on March 3rd, 2019, descend upon three of these shrubs and eat some of the dried up, brown fruit. (The Black Chokeberry fruit tastes much better, though still somewhat tart, and the birds do happily eat the black fruit.) Red Chokeberry's native range is from New York and southern New England down to central Florida, then over into east Texas. In nature it is found most often in bogs, swamps, and along watercourses in draining wet, acid soils, but sometimes along woods and old fields more upland. Red Chokeberry and its 'Brilliant' cultivar do well in regular landscapes. I like its upright, often leggy, and sort of see-through aspect. Many native and conventional nurseries sell some of this cultivar. Landscape architects and designers and horticultural enthusiasts use this lovely plant much more than the average homeowner, the latter who does not know it. One tends to see it more at arboretums, estates, well-to-do properties, city parks, college and office park campuses, etc.

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Discussion Threads about this plant
Thread Title Last Reply Replies
Yardening in the Mid-Atlantic by Eric4home Jan 12, 2020 3:59 PM 3,200
Brilliantissima chokeberry - where to buy; when to plant? by sas Nov 2, 2013 6:49 AM 7
Salt tolerant plants by eclayne Feb 8, 2013 9:39 PM 130

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