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Aronia arbutifolia

Common Name(s):
Chokeberry, Red chokeberry
'Brilliantissima' - salt tolerant, 'Erect'
Native Plants, Shrubs, Trees

Aronia arbutifolia, commonly called red chokeberry, is a deciduous, multi-stemmed shrub that is native to both wet and dry thickets in Eastern North America (Nova Scotia and Ontario to Ohio south to Texas and Florida). It typically grows in a vase-shaped form to 6-10’ tall and to 3-6' wide but tends to sucker and form colonies.  Excellent fall color. The common name is in reference to the tart and bitter berries which are technically edible but are so astringent as to cause choking in those who try. The plant has a stiff, upright habit with a vase shape.  It has a fibrous root system and spreads by suckers.  An easy transplant.  The fruit has an astringent taste that birds do not prefer.  It is best used in a mass planting as it tends to become leggy. 

This plant is also known as Sorbus arbutifolia.  Aronia arbutifolia is synonymous with Pyrus arbutifolis and Photinia pyrifolia.  

Regions:  Mountain, Piedmont, Coastal Plains

Seasons of Interest: 

  Leaf:  Fall                   Blooms:  Spring            Nut/Fruit/Seed:  Fall

Wildlife Value:  This plant has little resistance to damage from deer.  Its fruits are eaten by mammals and birds.

Insects, Diseases, or Other Plant Problems: This plant has some susceptibility to leaf spots and twig/fruit blight.

6-10 ft.
The Red Chokeberry has clusters (corymbs) of white to light pink, 5-petaled flowers (1/3”diameter) that appear in spring. The flowers are followed by abundant glossy red fruits (1/4” diameter) which appear in dense clusters along the branches. The fruits ripen in late summer and persist on the shrub throughout fall and well into winter. The best fruit production occurs in a sunny site. The fruits are sometimes used to make tasty jams and jellies.
The Red Chokeberry is easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. It has a wide range of soil tolerance, including boggy soils. The best fruit production usually occurs in full sun. Remove root suckers to prevent colonial spread.
Multi-stemmed shrub; spreading; open; rounded top; tends to become leggy with age; stiff, upright habit with a vase shape
Sun to partial shade; tolerates a range of soil types (wet, dry)
White flowers in spring; red berries that last into the winter
3-5 ft.
Growth Rate:
The Red Chokeberry has elliptic to oblong to obovate leaves (to 3 1/2” long) that are a glossy dark green above and pubescent grayish-green beneath. The foliage turns bright red in autumn and compares favorably with burning bush (Euonymus alatus) for excellence of fall color.
naturalize, deciduous, drought tolerant, showy flower, rain garden, winter interest, good fall

NCCES plant id: 444

Aronia arbutifolia Berries
Mr T In DC, CC BY-NC-ND - 2.0
Aronia arbutifolia Flowers
Bob Gatowski, CC BY-NC-SA - 2.0
Aronia arbutifolia Leaves
Kid Cowboy, CC-BY-SA-2.0
Aronia arbutifolia 'Brilliantissima' Form
Andrey Zharkikh, CC BY - 2.0