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Black chokeberry is a versatile, underutilized shrub with great ornamental and wildlife value. This low-maintenance shrub is highly adaptable and hardy. It grows well in both moist and dry locations. While it prefers soil that drains well, it’s tolerant of wet soil and salt, making it a good choice for boggy areas, roadsides, mixed borders and rain gardens. Chokeberry spreads by suckers to form colonies, making it ideal for mass plantings, wetland restorations, and erosion control.


Black chokeberry produces masses of small white flowers in May and purplish-black fruits in late summer that attract birds in late winter. When planted in adequate sun, it displays glossy green leaves in summer that turn vibrant red, copper and burgundy in fall, making it a great substitute for burning bush, a non-native invasive.


Black chokeberry occurs naturally in bogs, wet thickets, woods, moist high-elevation forests, rocky outcrops and along pond and lake margins.


Plant Characteristics:

Grows 3’-6’ tall and wide.


Will grow in part shade; for maximum flowers and fruit, plant in full sun.

Prefers moist soil with good drainage but adapts to a wide range of soil types, including sandy or clay, wet or dry. 


Bark is brown and relatively smooth, with obvious lenticels.


Can be cut to the ground periodically to control and promote a bushy growth habit.


Wildlife Value:

Black chokeberry has high wildlife value – it’s a larval host for up to 29 species of moths and butterflies, including the coral hairstreak and Catocala praeclara moth. Its flowers attract numerous pollinators. Many species of birds and mammals browse the astringent berries when other food sources dwindle in late winter.


Medicinal and Edible Uses:

Aronia berries are one of the richest plant sources of anthocyanins. Extensive research has shown Aronia berries and anthocyanins have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects that provide a wide array of health benefits, including glucose regulation, in vitro cancer cell suppression, hepatoprotection and antimicrobial action.


Potawatomi used the berries when making pemmican (a mixture of meat, tallow and dried berries), and the bark and berries were also used as an astringent. Aronia berries are often used to make jams, jellies and wine, and are sold as a superfood.

Chokeberry, Black, Aronia melanocarpa

SKU: 47
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