An endangered species in Ohio, red chokeberry is gorgeous in all seasons, and provides a high level of support for local wildlife. Masses of fragrant, showy, white to pink flowers bloom happily April-May, contrasting beautifully with shiny green leaves that turn a brilliant orange-red in fall. Flowers are followed by pear-shaped berries that ripen to bright red, and persist through winter. Once the leaves fall, multiple stems with attractive peeling red-brown bark provide warm winter accents. Red chokeberry makes a wonderful substitute for the non-native, invasive burning bush that can only claim two weeks of beauty in fall.
Found growing wild in pine bottomlands, swamps, and open bogs. Stunning when planted in clusters. Pruning is best done late winter to early spring.
Slow growing, reaching heights of 6-10' by 3-5’ wide. Spreads by seeds and rhizomes.
Blooms and fruits most profusely in full sun, but tolerates partial shade.
Site in average to wet, even boggy soils with poor drainage.
At least 30 species of pollinators have been documented feeding on the nectar and pollen. Red chokeberry is a host plant for numerous species of Lepidoptera, including the coral hairstreak butterfly and the Catacala praeclara underwing moth. The fruit is eaten by 40 species of birds and other wildlife.
Medicinal, Edible and Other Uses:
Red chokeberries are high in protein and contain antioxidants and phytochemicals that protect heart and blood vessels, and reduce swelling and blood sugar levels. Native Americans used the berries as a cold remedy.
Berries are bitter, as the name implies, but make great tasting jams and jellies. More palatable raw than black chokeberries.
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