TREES & plants

Red Chokeberry

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.

Botanical name: 
Aronia arbutifolia
All Common Names: 
Red chokeberry
Family (English): 
Family (Botanic): 
Tree or Plant Type: 
  • Shrub
Native Locale: 
  • Chicago area
  • Illinois
  • North America
Landscape Uses: 
  • Specimen
  • Massing
  • Hedge
  • Mixed border
Size Range: 
  • Large shrub (more than 8 feet)
  • Medium shrub (5-8 feet)
Light Exposure: 
  • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)
  • Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
Hardiness Zones: 
  • Zone 4
  • Zone 5
  • Zone 6
  • Zone 7
  • Zone 8
  • Zone 9
Soil Preference: 
  • Acid soil
  • Alkaline soil
  • Moist, well-drained soil
  • Wet soil
  • Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
Season of Interest: 
  • Early winter
  • Mid spring
  • Late spring
  • Early fall
  • Mid fall
  • Late fall
Flower Color & Fragrance: 
  • White
Shape or Form: 
  • Multi-stemmed
  • Thicket-forming
  • Upright
Growth Rate: 
  • Slow
More Information: 

Size and Form

5 to 10 feet high and 3 to 5 feet wide; upright, suckering habit

Tree & Plant Care

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

C-Value: 6
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

5 white petal 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 

 Brilliant  (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.