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Woody > Aronia > Aronia melanocarpa > Aronia melanocarpa

Aronia melanocarpa

Black chokeberry

Origin:  Eastern North America.
            Mike's Opinion

this is Mike


The black chokeberry is an interesting native shrub that has high ornamental and practical value. This plant has interesting features for all seasons: pretty white flowers in spring, nice glossy, green foliage in summer, showy autumn colour as the leaves turn red to orange, and it has clusters of black berries that create an interesting contrast against the orange leaves in autumn. In addition, the berries also attract wildlife such as birds. Thus this plant can be used as a specimen plant, or it is an interesting massing plant because it is fairly dense, and it has a suckering habit that makes it form large colonies. The black chokeberry is a hardy plant that tolerates both wet and dry conditions. It also has very few pests and diseases. The plant’s fast growth and strong roots make it a good choice for bank stabilization and erosion control. It is often used in wetland restoration projects because it tolerates wet conditions well and it has a stabilizing effect. Additionally the berries have medicinal qualities. The berries are rich in antioxidants and anthocyanins and these compounds have been shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases and type II diabetes. The berries are not palatable and are therefore consumed in the form of juices and jellies, much like cranberries. In New Brunswick, Canada black chokeberries are traditionally made into vinegar that is used to alleviate cold symptoms.

Michael Pascoe, NDP., ODH., CLT., MSc. (Plant Conservation)


Shrub (deciduous)
USDA Hardiness Zone
Canadian Hardiness Zone
RHS Hardiness Zone
Temperature (°C)
Temperature (°F)
1 - 4 m
2 - 3 m
Description and Growing Information
Flowering Period
General Description
Is a deciduous, medium sized shrub with glossy green leaves that turn to a mixture of yellow, red, and orange in autumn. It has clusters of white flowers in spring, and clusters of purplish black pome fruit in summer and autumn. The buds, twigs, and leaves are all glabrous.
The black chokeberry is used in the naturalization of landscapes because they are an indigenous eastern North American plant. They can be used as a multi-seasonal specimen plant because of their nice white flowers in the spring, dark green, glabrous summer foliage, and in the autumn it has black berry clusters that contrast well with the red, yellow and orange foliage. It is mainly used for borders and mass planting. It can be used for erosion control and bank stabilization, for example it has been used to stabilize wetland soils after human disturbance.
Can be grown in full sun to partial shade, tolerates wet and dry soil conditions, however it will perform better in full sun and moist soil. Plants should be planted in the spring or summer after the risk of frost has passed. Chokeberry plants respond well to transplanting and require little after care. Older stems should be removed about every two years so that the plant does not become leggy.
Vertical, low growing, somewhat rounded shrub.
ID Characteristic
Has purple to black clusters of pome fruits. Leaves are simple and alternate with an obvate shape and serrated edges. Leaves are also glabrous and they have distinct glands on the upper midrib. Plants have a suckering habit which makes them form large colonies. It has clusters of pinkish white flowers in late spring.
It has few pest and disease problems. However it is prone to mildew if grown in an area with inadequate sunlight and air circulation. It occasionally suffers from rust and ringspot.
The black chokeberry tolerates dry and wet conditions so its habitat varies. It can be found in swamps, wetlands, moist forests, sand dunes, dry bluffs, rocky slopes, and grassy clearings.
Bark/Stem Description
The stems have a small diameter so the bark is not very noticeable. The bark is a reddish brown colour and it has distinct lenticels.
Flower/Leaf Bud Description
Has glabrous, reddish coloured buds that are conical shaped and about 0.5 –1 cm long.
Leaf Description
Leaves are glabrous and a glossy green colour. They turn a red to orange colour in autumn. The leaf is obvate, has serrated edges and an acuminate tip. The leaf size varies: length is 2.5 – 7.5 cm while the width is usually 2 – 5 cm.
Flower Description
Flowers are perfect and they occur in clusters. . Each flower is approximately 1.5 cm in diameter with five white petals and pink anthers.
Fruit Description
Has pome type fruit that occur in clusters. The pomes are a purplish black colour, and each pome contains 1- 5 seeds. The pome diameter is approximately 1 cm.
Colour Description
Has showy autumn colour with leaves changing to red, yellow, and orange colours. The berries are a deep purple to black colour that contrast well with the autumn foliage.
Texture Description
Notable Specimens
Black chokeberry plant specimens can be found in Tommy Thomson Park, which is located in Toronto, Ontario. The plants were used as part of a wetland restoration project within the park.
The main method of propagation is seed. They should be sown in September and germination rates are greatest when the seeds have been cleaned (no fruit pulp remaining). Chokeberry plants have a tendency to sucker and form large colonies so they can be propagated by dividing up colonies. Softwood cuttings are also an effective means of propagation. Softwood cuttings should be rooted in early summer (June to July). A rooting compound, such as hormodin #2, can be used to encourage root formation, and the cutting should be misted frequently to prevent desiccation.
Scott, Robert and Robert Skirvin. “Black Chokeberry (Aronia melanocarpa Michx): A Semi-Edible Fruit with no Pests.” Journal of the American Pomological Society 61.3 (2007): 135-137.