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Black Chokeberry Aronia melanocarpa

Other Common Name(s):

Previously known as:

  • Photinia melanocarpa
  • Pyrus melanocarpa
  • Sorbus melanocarpa
Phonetic Spelling
ar-OH-nee-ah mel-an-oh-KAR-pah
Description

Aronia melanocarpa, known as black chokeberry, this deciduous shrub from the Rosaceae family spreads freely and suckers profusely. The top is often rounded and upright; it tends to become leggy with age.  The fruit is edible though very astringent and is produced from 5-6 flowered clusters that bloom in late spring. The leaves turn red in the fall and will drop for winter. It is native to Eastern North America. Can be used as a shrub in borders or in more open wooded gardens. This plant does well in full sun and partial shade and tolerates a wide variety of soil types including wet boggy soils.  

The genus name, Aronia, is from the Greek word "aria." This is the Greek name for the species of Sorbus, whose fruits are similar to the Chokeberry. The species name, melanocarpa, is the combination of two words. Melano means black and carpa meaning fruit. This is derived from the ripe fruits of this species. The common name, Chokeberry, references its tart and bitter berries. They are edible but are so astringent they may cause choking.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  No serious problems.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Autumn Magic'
    Bright red fall foliage
  • 'Black Magic'
  • 'Elata'
    Larger flowers, leaves and fruit, compacted rounded shrub
  • 'Grandiflora'
  • 'McKenzie'
    Larger form 6-12 feet, developed for conservation use
  • 'Morton'
    Dwarf--about 3 feet tall; Trademark name "Iroquois Beauty"
  • 'Nero'
    Shorter variety with dark blue berries
  • 'Viking'
    Large black fruits, shrub 4-6 feet tall; red fall foliage
'Autumn Magic', 'Black Magic', 'Elata', 'Grandiflora', 'McKenzie', 'Morton', 'Nero', 'Viking'
Tags:
#white#deciduous#fall color#full sun tolerant#rain garden#drought tolerant#wine#white flowers#shrub#wildlife plant#pink flowers#red leaves#native shrub#low maintenance#spring flowers#fall interest#showy fruits#hedges#wet sites#NC native#glossy leaves#edible fruits#spring interest#naturalized area#suckers#edible shrub#food source fall#dry soils tolerant#fall color red#partial shade tolerant#audubon#shrub borders
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Autumn Magic'
    Bright red fall foliage
  • 'Black Magic'
  • 'Elata'
    Larger flowers, leaves and fruit, compacted rounded shrub
  • 'Grandiflora'
  • 'McKenzie'
    Larger form 6-12 feet, developed for conservation use
  • 'Morton'
    Dwarf--about 3 feet tall; Trademark name "Iroquois Beauty"
  • 'Nero'
    Shorter variety with dark blue berries
  • 'Viking'
    Large black fruits, shrub 4-6 feet tall; red fall foliage
'Autumn Magic', 'Black Magic', 'Elata', 'Grandiflora', 'McKenzie', 'Morton', 'Nero', 'Viking'
Tags:
#white#deciduous#fall color#full sun tolerant#rain garden#drought tolerant#wine#white flowers#shrub#wildlife plant#pink flowers#red leaves#native shrub#low maintenance#spring flowers#fall interest#showy fruits#hedges#wet sites#NC native#glossy leaves#edible fruits#spring interest#naturalized area#suckers#edible shrub#food source fall#dry soils tolerant#fall color red#partial shade tolerant#audubon#shrub borders
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Aronia
    Species:
    melanocarpa
    Family:
    Rosaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Eastern North America, NC
    Distribution:
    Native: Canada--New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Quebec; United States--AL, AR, CT, DE, DC, FL, GA, IL, IN, IA, KY, ME, MD, MA, MI, MN, MO, NH, NJ, NY, NC, OH, PA, RI, SC, TN, VT, VA, WV;
    Wildlife Value:
    Fruits attract birds, butterflies, and other pollinators.
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    drought, range of soil conditions from wet to dry
    Edibility:
    Fruits are edible but quite astringent, hence the common names, so make into jams or jellies.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 3 ft. 0 in. - 6 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 3 ft. 0 in. - 6 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Native Plant
    Shrub
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
    Multi-stemmed
    Multi-trunked
    Open
    Rounded
    Spreading
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Shallow Rocky
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    Occasionally Wet
    Available Space To Plant:
    3 feet-6 feet
    NC Region:
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    3a, 3b, 4b, 4a, 5b, 5a, 6b, 6a, 7a, 7b, 8b, 8a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Black
    Purple/Lavender
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Showy
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Type:
    Pome
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    The fruits are shiny, showy edible blackish-purple pome (though often referred to as a berry) 1/2" across. Fruits display from August to September. The best fruit production occurs in full sun.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Pink
    White
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    The blooms are tiny 0.3-inch, off-white to pink 5 petaled flowers bloom from May to June in clusters of 5-6.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Glossy
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Red/Burgundy
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Elliptical
    Leaf Margin:
    Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Alternate, simple elliptic 1"-3", glossy, dark green finely serrate leaves that have a wine-red fall color. Color varies among seedlings.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Naturalized Area
    Pond
    Riparian
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Edible Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Rain Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Hedge
    Mass Planting
    Small groups
    Attracts:
    Butterflies
    Pollinators
    Small Mammals
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Drought
    Dry Soil
    Wet Soil