Aronia melanocarpa (Black Chokeberry)

Tried and True Native Plant Selections for the Mid-Atlantic

Earlier classified as Photinia melanocarpa, this attractive native is often found in bogs, swamps, and moist thickets. Although edible, the fruits’ acerbic taste often causes choking – hence the common name. However, its red coloring and healthy nutrients make it useful in food processing.

Print Version: Aronia melanocarpa (Black Chokeberry)

Aronia melanocarpa, Black Chokeberry Shrub, Height: 3–6 feet, Spread: 3–6 feet, Bloom Color: White or pink-tinged, Small, upright, spreading deciduous shrub, Multi-stemmed with slender branches, Glossy, elliptic, dark green leaves with finely toothed edges, Flat-topped clusters of white five-petaled flowers from April to May, Black pomes (fruit) from September to November, Fall color ranges from yellow to orange to crimson, Tolerates wide range of soils, including boggy, No serious insect or disease problems; deer seldom severely damage although they, along with rabbits, may browse twigs and foliage, Fruit used for jams, juice, and natural red coloring, Attracts bees and birds, incl. Cedar Waxwings, and mammals; larval host to some Lepidoptera, Soil Requirements: Average, well-drained, Light Requirements: Full Sun, Partial Shade, Water Requirements: Moist, Plant in full sun for best fruit production, Remove root suckers to prevent spread, Hardiness: USDA Zones 3–8, Excellent Replacement for Berberis thunbergii - Japanese Barberry, Euonymus alatus - Burning Bush, Ligustrum species - Privets, Lonicera species - Non-Native Honeysuckles, Rubus phoenicolasius - Wineberry, *It is native to DC, historical in DE, and absent in about ten PA counties. In VA, it is frequent in the mountains, infrequent in the Piedmont (it is not reported to be in Loudoun county), and Hardiness: USDA Zones 3–8 infrequent to rare in the Coastal Plain.

Learn more about other Mid-Atlantic plants: Tried and True Plant Fact Sheets