Aronia melanocarpa

Black Chokeberry




  • throughout the eastern United States and adjacent southern Canada
  • zone 3
  • found on a range of sites from dry to swampy

Habit and Form

  • generally 3' to 5' tall, but can get larger
  • a multistemmed, suckering, deciduous shrub
  • forms large colonies and spreads
  • texture is medium

Summer Foliage

  • good quality, shiny, leathery
  • dark green upper surface, light green lower surface
  • elliptical with fine, even serrations along the margin
  • 1" to 3" long and 0.75" to 2" wide

Autumn Foliage

  • orange, burgundy and purple
  • dependable and showy, especially in exposed locations


  • clusters of small, white flowers
  • in May, lasting only a week or so
  • not overwhelming in bloom, but adds seasonal interest


  • clusters of purplish-black pome fruit
  • 0.3" to 0.5" diameter
  • persistent, from September through December
  • eaten by birds, but left until after more desirable species have been consumed


  • brown, but stem diameter is small, so unimportant


  • adaptable to many conditions
  • tolerant of both dry and wet soils
  • easily transplanted and established
  • full sun or partial shade, but best flowering, fruiting and fall color in full exposure

Landscape Use

  • excellent for fall foliage effect
  • multiseasonal due to flowers, high-quality summer foliage, flowers, fruit and fall foliage
  • best used in mass plantings or borders
  • for naturalistic plantings
  • useful for bank stabilization and erosion control
  • could be used more


  • can get all the problems common to the rose family but I have observed it to be relatively pest and disease free
  • tends to spread by suckers
  • fruit not as showy as A. arbutifolia, but foliage may be more shiny

ID Features

  • suckering habit
  • black pome fruit
  • twigs glabrous, often with loose waxy, whitish material (compare to pubescent A. arbutifolia twigs)
  • undersides of leaves glabrous (compare to fuzzy undersides of A. arbutifolia)
  • buds reddish


  • easy by seed, softwood cuttings, or division of colonies


var. elata - A form with larger leaves, flowers and fruits that has a larger mature size (10'-12' tall). Many nurseries claim to grow this form.

'Autumn Magic' - A compact form (3'-5' tall) with good fruit set and bright red-purple fall color.

'Morton' (Iroquois Beauty™) - A dwarf form (only 2' to 3' tall) with ornamental traits similar to the species. Even smaller than 'Autumn Magic', thus useful for bringing multi-season interest to limited spaces.

'Viking' - A mid-sized cultivar averaging between 3' and 6' tall. Observers have noted good foliage quality -- both in summer and fall -- and large black fruit.

© Copyright Mark H. Brand, 1997-2015.

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Citation and Acknowledgements: University of Connecticut Plant Database,, Mark H. Brand, Department of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture, Storrs, CT 06269-4067 USA.