A tall, multi-stemmed native shrub with abundant white flowers, red glossy berries, and outstanding red fall color. Red chokeberry is a tough, dependable plant with three-season interest, especially in shady, wet sites. It works well in a naturalized landscape or garden.
"This species is native to the Chicago Region according to Swink and Wilhelm's Plants of the Chicago Region, with updates made according to current research."
This plant has some cultivated varieties. Go to list of cultivars.
- Chicago area
- North America
- Mixed border
- Large shrub (more than 8 feet)
- Medium shrub (5-8 feet)
- Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)
- Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
- Zone 4
- Zone 5
- Zone 6
- Zone 7
- Zone 8
- Zone 9
- Acid soil
- Alkaline soil
- Moist, well-drained soil
- Wet soil
- Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
- Early winter
- Mid spring
- Late spring
- Early fall
- Mid fall
- Late fall
Size and Form
5 to 10 feet high and 3 to 5 feet wide; upright shrub with a suckering habit.
Tree & Plant Care
Grows best in moist soil but tolerant of dry once established.
Full sun to part shade. Mulch to conserve moisture.
Place at back the border because plant tends to be somewhat bare on the lower stems.
Prune in spring, after flowering.
Prune out unwanted suckers to control size.
Disease, pests and problems
No serious disease or insect problems.
Native geographic location and habitat
Native to the eastern United States; often found in wet areas.
Attracts birds & butterflies
Fruit is eaten by a number of bird species, usually in mid to late winter.
Bark color and texture
Reddish brown bark when young, changing to grayish-brown with age.
Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture
Alternate, simple leaves; 2 1/2 inches long, oval in shape, dark green with finely toothed margins.
Red to reddish purple fall color.
Flower arrangement, shape, and size
White, five-petaled flowers arranged in small corymbs (clusters).
Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions
Chokeberry fruit is fleshy, berry-like pome, bright red when ripe.
Cultivars and their differences
This plant is a cultivar of a species that is native to the Chicago Region according to Swink and Wilhelm's Plants of the Chicago Region, with updates made according to current research. Cultivars are plants produced in cultivation by selective breeding or via vegetative propagation from wild plants identified to have desirable traits."
Brilliant Red Chokeberry (Aronia arbutifolia 'Brilliantissima'): 6 to 8 feet high and 3 to 5 feet wide; upright habit. Glossy green leaves turn a brilliant scarlet in the fall. Flowers are more abundant and the fruits are larger.