Black Chokeberry (Aronia melanocarpa)

Botanical names:
Aronia melanocarpa Accepted
Photinia melanocarpa Synonym
Aronia nigra Synonym

General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Shrub
Life cycle: Perennial
Sun Requirements: Full Sun to Partial Shade
Water Preferences: Wet
Wet Mesic
Dry Mesic
Minimum cold hardiness: Zone 3 -40 °C (-40 °F) to -37.2 °C (-35)
Maximum recommended zone: Zone 8b
Plant Height: 3-6 feet
Plant Spread: 3-6 feet (Spreads by root suckers to form colonies.)
Leaves: Good fall color
Other: dark green foliage turns an attractive purplish red in autumn
Fruit: Showy
Edible to birds
Other: Best fruit production occurs in full sun. Early autumn; blackish purple, blueberry-sized fruits which usually do not persist into winter. May be used for making tasty jams and jellies.
Flowers: Showy
Flower Color: White
Bloom Size: Under 1"
Flower Time: Late spring or early summer
Underground structures: Rhizome
Suitable Locations: Bog gardening
Uses: Windbreak or Hedge
Water gardens
Will Naturalize
Edible Parts: Fruit
Eating Methods: Cooked
Wildlife Attractant: Bees
Resistances: Humidity tolerant
Toxicity: Other: Although technically edible, the fruits are extremely tart and bitter, and are not recommended for eating off the bush (hence the common name of chokeberry)
Propagation: Other methods: Cuttings: Stem
Stolons and runners
Pollinators: Bees
Awards and Recognitions: Other: 2009 Oklahoma Proven! plant selection


Photo gallery:

Posted by ILPARW (southeast Pennsylvania - Zone 6b) on Nov 29, 2017 1:41 PM

Black Chokeberry is a smooth, clean, attractive shrub with wonderful foliage that gets good orange to red fall color, though sometimes it is not all at once. Its leaves are usually wider and more rounded than those of the Red Chokeberry and the undersides of the leaves are not whitish like the Red species. It has big, red, sharp buds and smooth gray to gray-brown bark, nice white flowers in spring, and bearing black glossy fruit, maturing to black in late July or August, that is loved by a number of songbirds and, though tart, is edible by humans. The fruit is used in jams, jellies, and juices commercially, sometimes sold at health food stores or included in other common juice mixtures, and the fruit is full of antioxidants. The fruit starts to mature to black in late July or early August. The 'Viking' and 'Nero' cultivars are grown the most in orchards for their heavy loads of fruit that are less tart. Black Chokeberry is normally about 3 to 6 feet high, (usually 5 to 6 feet high and wide) and there are a number of cultivars available. In nature the Black Chokeberry usually grows in draining wet, acid soils of bogs, swamps, and along watercourses, but it also grows upland in fields and on cliffs. Its native range is from Nova Scotia and southeast Canada through New England through the Mid-Atlantic down the Appalachians to north Georgia & Alabama and around the Great Lakes, except to north side of Superior. This species is not known by the general public, so it is mostly planted by landscape architects and designers and park district staff occasionally. It should be used a lot more.
(There is a natural variety being (A. melanocarpa elata), the Glossy or Tall Black Chokeberry, that grows about 10 to 15 feet high and really does not sucker. My Tall Black Chokeberry is now 14 feet high x 16 feet wide near the top in 2018, and it was planted in the east side yard as a 2 gallon plant from a native plant nursery in 2003. During late July and most of August of 2018 my shrub was weighed down with lots of fruit, but by very late August, the birds ate all of the fruit away and it was not drooping any longer. The spring and summer of 2018 were so wet that my shrub lost most of its leaves due to fungi around mid-September. The Tall or Glossy variety is mentioned as entry #325 in the famous -- "Trees, Shrubs, and Vines, A Pictorial Guide to the Ornamental Woody Plants of the Northern United States Exclusive of Conifers" by Arthur T. Viertel, also in the 'Manual of Woody Landscape Plants" by Michael A. Dirr it is mentioned on page 110; and listed in the Ornamental Growers Association of Northern Illinois showing that Clavey's Nursery, Hinsdale Nursery, and Midwest Groundcovers sell this variety.)

Chokeberry shrubs are similar to Serviceberry trees and shrubs, and I adore both. New, young chokeberry shrubs should be protected with fencing if there are a lot of rabbits around that can feed on their buds and small twigs in winter.

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Discussion Threads about this plant
Thread Title Last Reply Replies
Need help to identify species (Binomial name if possible) 6 by NightCrow Jan 21, 2019 4:53 PM 3
Tree with red berries in my yard? by debeehr Jul 12, 2018 8:07 AM 6
Shrub or Perennial for Shade by claired May 30, 2018 5:56 PM 1
Overgrown shrub ID? by Lmvantassel May 25, 2017 9:27 PM 7
Fruit Trees growing on the Jersey Shore by matthewdurkinjr Oct 9, 2016 2:16 PM 13
What kind of Viburnum? by kevn Jun 25, 2016 9:14 PM 4
2016 Garden Chat and Photos by ssgardener Feb 25, 2017 2:24 PM 1,945
Yardening in the Mid-Atlantic by Eric4home Jan 19, 2020 1:23 PM 3,202
Salt tolerant plants by eclayne Feb 8, 2013 9:39 PM 130

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