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Purple Chokeberry Aronia x prunifolia

Other Common Name(s):

Previously known as:

  • Adenorachis atropurpurea
  • Aronia atropurpurea
  • Aronia floribunda
  • Aronia prunifolia
  • Pyrus arbutifolia var. atropurpurea
  • Pyrus floribunda
  • Sorbus arbutifolia var. atropurpurea
Phonetic Spelling
ar-OH-nee-ah BY proo-nih-FOE-lee-ah
Description

The Purple Chokeberry is a hybrid, deciduous shrub with multi-season interest. The multi-stemmed shrub is derived from the Red Chokeberry (Aronia arbutifolia) and the Black Chokeberry (Aronia melanocarpa.) The plant is found in bogs, meadows, fields, and along the shores of rivers and lakes. It is a native of eastern Canada and the eastern United States. 

The shrub grows upright and is thicket forming. They measure up to 12 feet tall and 10 feet wide. Full sun encourages the best fruit and flower production. They are tolerant of salty soils, dry and wet sites, and occasional flooding.  Root suckers tend to develop and may need to be removed to prevent colonial spread.

Clusters of white to pink-tinged flowers appear in the spring. The leaves are green and glossy, but they turn to a wine red color in the fall. The berries ripen during the fall, and the purple fruits may be present throughout the winter. Their colorful bark adds winter interest. 

The berries are very tart, but they may be used to make jams and jellies. Reportedly, the raw berry is so astringent it may cause choking. 

The genus name, Aronia, is from the Greek word "aria." This is the Greek name for the species Sorbus, whose fruits are similar to the Chokeberry. The species name, prunifolia, refers to the foliage that resembles the genus Prunus. The common name, Chokeberry, references their bitter taste.

Butterflies are attracted to their flowers for nectar, and birds enjoy the berries as a food source.

The Purple Chokeberry is a good choice for mass planting in low or wet areas. They may also be considered for use as hedged or mixed borders for their multi-season interest.

Insect, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems: No serious disease/insect problems. It may be susceptible to developing leaf spot and twig/fruit blight

 

 

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Aron'
    Gentle fragrance and reddish-black berries
  • 'Nero'
    Purple black berries and purple-red leaves in the fall
  • 'Viking'
    Large purple berries and the leaves are dark purplish-red in the fall
'Aron', 'Nero', 'Viking'
Tags:
#white#black#deciduous#fall color#small tree#full sun tolerant#white flowers#shrub#purple leaves#tree#red leaves#salt tolerant#winter interest#fall interest#wet sites#poor soils tolerant#purple fruits#dry soils tolerant#partial shade tolerant
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Aron'
    Gentle fragrance and reddish-black berries
  • 'Nero'
    Purple black berries and purple-red leaves in the fall
  • 'Viking'
    Large purple berries and the leaves are dark purplish-red in the fall
'Aron', 'Nero', 'Viking'
Tags:
#white#black#deciduous#fall color#small tree#full sun tolerant#white flowers#shrub#purple leaves#tree#red leaves#salt tolerant#winter interest#fall interest#wet sites#poor soils tolerant#purple fruits#dry soils tolerant#partial shade tolerant
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Aronia
    Species:
    x prunifolia
    Family:
    Rosaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    Native Americans used the fruits in pemmican which is a mixture of dried meats, tallow, and berries.
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Grafting
    Seed
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Eastern Canada and Eastern United States
    Distribution:
    Native: USA--AL, CT, GA, IN, KY, ME, MA, MI, MS, NH, NY, NC, OH, RI, SC, VT, VA, WV, WI Canada-- Ontario and Quebec; Introduced: Belgium and the Netherlands
    Wildlife Value:
    Fruit attracts birds. Butterflies are attracted to the nectar of the flowers.
    Play Value:
    Wildlife Food Source
    Edibility:
    The fruits are edible and are best used in jams and jellies.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 8 ft. 0 in. - 12 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 6 ft. 0 in. - 9 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Shrub
    Tree
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Columnar
    Erect
    Multi-stemmed
    Growth Rate:
    Slow
    Maintenance:
    Low
  • 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
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    Occasionally Wet
    Available Space To Plant:
    6-feet-12 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    4b, 4a, 5b, 5a, 6b, 6a, 7b, 7a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Black
    Purple/Lavender
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Showy
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Winter
    Fruit Type:
    Drupe
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    The fruits mature to dark purple or blackish-purple berries. The berry measures 1/3 inch in diameter, and they form dense clusters along the branches. They mature in the fall and may persist throughout the winter. They are edible but very tart.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Pink
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Corymb
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Shape:
    Cup
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    In the spring, the blooms appear along the branches. Clusters of 5- petaled flowers in white or pinkish-tinged appear. The flowers measure about 0.5-inches across.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Gray/Silver
    Green
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Purple/Lavender
    Red/Burgundy
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Elliptical
    Obovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Width:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Description:
    The leaves are elliptical to obovate in shape. They measure 1.5 to 3 inches long and 1/2 to 3/4 inches wide. The upper surface of the leaves is dark green, shiny, but the undersides are grayish-green with fine hairs. The leaves are a bright red or reddish-purple in the fall.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Light Brown
    Light Gray
    Red/Burgundy
    Surface/Attachment:
    Smooth
    Bark Description:
    The bark is reddish-brown, thin, and smooth when it is young. As the shrub ages, the bark becomes grayish-brown.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Gray/Silver
    Purple/Lavender
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Bud Scales:
    Enclosed in more than 2 scales
    Stem Description:
    The stems are brownish, grayish, and purplish in color. The winter bud has 3 or more scales, and they overlap like shingles.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Naturalized Area
    Pond
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Pollinator Garden
    Rain Garden
    Winter Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Hedge
    Mass Planting
    Attracts:
    Pollinators
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Dry Soil
    Poor Soil
    Salt
    Wet Soil