Native Plant Trust

Aronia melanocarpa

black chokeberry


Aronia blends nicely into the landscape when not in flower or fruit. It is a multi-stemmed shrub with small white flowers and deep red anthers. The flowers are followed by black fruits in fall and deep red foliage. A great plant for moist to average garden soils in full or partial sun.

Click on these links to read in detail:  General Description | Benefits | Ecology | References


Height: 3-10 ft
Spread: 3-6 ft
Hardiness Zone: 3-8


Bloom Color: White

Characteristics & Attributes

Cultivation Status
Species
Exposure
Sun
Part Shade
Soil Moisture
Wet
Average
Dry
Ecoregion
(84) Atlantic Coastal Pine Barrens
(82) Acadian Plains and Hills
(58) Northeastern Highlands
(83) Eastern Great Lakes Lowlands
(59) Northeastern Coastal Zone
Ornamental Interest
Fall Foliage
Summer Fruit
Spring Bloom
Attracts Wildlife
Attracts Songbirds
Other Pollinators/Wildlife
Host Plant
Attracts Bees
Tolerance
Compaction Tolerant
Salt Tolerant
Urban Environment
Drought Tolerant
Additional Attributes
Edible
Erosion Control/Soil Stabilization
Low Maintenance


North American Distribution


General Description

Bloom Description: Small, white flowers with deep red anthers appear in late May to early June. The flowers appear in masses, making a spectacular show.

Growth Habit & Shape: A multi-stemmed shrub with small dark twigs and exfoliating bark. Aronia can spread by root suckers, forming colonies.

Soil Preferences: Aronia melanocarpa grows well in moist to semi-dry, well-draining soil. Average garden soil is fine.

Root Description: Aronia has a fibrous root system and spreads by suckers, forming thick colonies

Garden Uses: This is a wonderful shrub for a wildlife border. The flowering and fruiting characterisitics make it a nice specimen, and its growth habit makes it useful in a mixed shrub border

Best Management & Maintenance: Black chokeberry needs little attention and grows well in general. It can be pruned by cutting it to the ground periodically and allowing fresh growth to come up from the base. The best pruning method is to remove 1/3 of the largest branches over a 3 year period to keep the plant robust. In a hedgerow, the plant needs little attention. It does not like to be crowded, and prefers plenty of sun for best flowering and fall color.

Common Problems: Biotic: this plant may get leaf spot or fruit and twig blight when stressed, especially by long periods of drought.

Benefits

Ornamental Value: An underused shrub with great ornamental value, this species produces small, beautiful masses of flowers, and the showy fruits attract birds in winter. It sports bright red fall foliage when planted in adequate sun.

Wildlife Benefits: Flowers attract many pollinating insects and fruits feed numerous local songbirds in winter. Protect from deer browse!

Other Practical/Environmental Benefits: Aronia is a good wetland shrub and can stabilize soils at wetland edges, but also limits erosion in dryer areas.

Use in place of: Berberis thunbergii, Euonymus alatus

Ecology

Habitat:
Grows in bogs, wet thickets, margins of ponds and lakes, beaver ponds, woods, moist high-elevation forests, and rocky outcrops.


Response to Disturbance: Aronia melanocarpa takes at least one full growing season to establish, tolerates drought, and will readily re-grow within a few years when clear cut. It also readily tolerates occasional flooding.

Native State Distributions:
Canada: N.B., Nfld. and Labr. (Nfld.), N.S., Ont., P.E.I., Que.;
USA: AL, AR, CT, DE, D.C., FL, GA, IL, IN, IA KY, ME, MD, MA, MI, MN, MO, NH, NJ, NY, NC, OH, PA, RI, SC, TN, VT, VA, WV, WI.


Wetland indicator status: FAC

References

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black chokeberry - Aronia melanocarpa from Native Plant Trust
black chokeberry - Aronia melanocarpa from Native Plant Trust
black chokeberry - Aronia melanocarpa from Native Plant Trust
black chokeberry - Aronia melanocarpa from Native Plant Trust