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Aronia arbutifolia

Common Name(s):

  • Chokeberry
  • Red Chokeberry
Phonetic Spelling
ar-OH-nee-ah ar-bew-tih-FOH-lee-ah
Description

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. The plant has a stiff, upright habit with a vase shape.  It has a fibrous root system and spreads by suckers.  An easy transplant.  It is best used in a mass planting as it tends to become leggy with age. The Red Chokeberry is easily grown in average, medium moisture soils. It has a wide range of soil tolerance, including boggy soils. Remove root suckers to prevent colonial spread.

History of Name: 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.

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.

Cultivars:
  • 'Brilliantissima'
    salt tolerant
  • 'Erect'
Tags:
#native#red#white#pink#sun#showy flowers#deciduous#fall color#birds#full sun#partial shade#rain garden#drought tolerant#white flowers#shrub#red berries#pink flowers#white flower#tree#red leaves#boggy#winter interest#fall interest#mass planting#naturalize#dry soil#mammals#wet sites#good fall#low flammability#pink flower#thickets#fire resistant
Cultivars:
  • 'Brilliantissima'
    salt tolerant
  • 'Erect'
Tags:
#native#red#white#pink#sun#showy flowers#deciduous#fall color#birds#full sun#partial shade#rain garden#drought tolerant#white flowers#shrub#red berries#pink flowers#white flower#tree#red leaves#boggy#winter interest#fall interest#mass planting#naturalize#dry soil#mammals#wet sites#good fall#low flammability#pink flower#thickets#fire resistant
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Aronia
    Species:
    arbutifolia
    Family:
    Rosaceae
    Synonyms:
    Sorbus arbutifolia, Pyrus arbutifolis and Photinia pyrifolia
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Eastern North America
    Fire Risk Rating:
    low flammability
    Wildlife Value:
    This plant has little resistance to damage from deer. Its fruits are eaten by mammals and birds.
    Play Value:
    Wildlife Enhancement
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    tfire in the landscape. Tolerates a range of soil types (wet, dry), transplant
    Edibility:
    Berries, but bitter and astringent (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 fruits are sometimes used to make tasty jams and jellies.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 6 ft. 0 in. - 10 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 3 ft. 0 in. - 5 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Edible
    Native Plant
    Shrub
    Tree
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
    Multistemmed
    Multi-trunked
    Open
    Rounded
    Spreading
    Vase
    Growth Rate:
    Slow
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full Sun (Direct sunlight 8+ hours a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight (2-4 hrs) for only part of the day
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    Usda Plant Hardiness Zone:
    6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Red/Burgundy
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Winter
    Fruit Type:
    Berry
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    Its red berries last into the winter. 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 full sun site. The fruits are sometimes used to make tasty jams and jellies. The fruit has an astringent taste that birds do not prefer.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Pink
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Corymb
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    This plant has white flowers in spring. The Red Chokeberry has clusters (corymbs) of white to light pink, 5-petaled flowers (1/3”diameter) that appear in spring.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Gray/Silver
    Green
    Purple/Lavender
    Leaf Feel:
    Glossy
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Red/Burgundy
    Leaf Shape:
    Elliptical
    Oblong
    Obovate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    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.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Theme:
    Native Garden
    Rain Garden
    Winter Garden
    Design Feature:
    Mass Planting
    Attracts:
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Dry Soil
    Wet Soil