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Black chokeberry

Leaves and flowers of black chokeberry.

Black chokeberry is a dependable small to medium sized shrub with upright, mounded habit. Small clusters of white flowers in spring are followed by glossy black fruit. Dark green foliage turns reddish-purple in the fall.

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.

Botanical name:

Aronia melanocarpa

All common names:

Black chokeberry

Family (English):


Family (Botanic):


Tree or Plant Type:

  • Shrub

Native Locale:

  • Chicago area,
  • Illinois,
  • North America

Landscape Uses:

  • Foundation,
  • Massing,
  • Mixed border,
  • Specimen

Size Range:

  • Medium shrub (5-8 feet),
  • Small shrub (3-5 feet)

Light Exposure:

  • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily),
  • Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)

Hardiness Zones:

  • Zone 3,
  • Zone 4,
  • Zone 5 (Chicago),
  • Zone 6,
  • Zone 7,
  • Zone 8

Soil Preference:

  • Acid soil,
  • Wet soil


  • Occasional drought,
  • Wet sites,
  • Occasional flooding,
  • Road salt

Seasons of Interest:

  • early winter,
  • mid spring,
  • late spring,
  • early fall,
  • mid fall,
  • late fall

Flower Color & Fragrance:

  • White

Shape or Form:

  • Mounded,
  • Multi-stemmed,
  • Thicket-forming

Growth Rate:

  • Slow,
  • Moderate

More Information:

Tree & Plant Care

A 3 to 8 feet high and 3 to 6 feet wide shrub for low to wet locations.
Best in full sun to part shade; plant toward back of border because plants tend to sucker and be a bit leggy at the bottom.
Plants benefit from mulch to conserve moisture.
Prune after flowering in spring.

Disease, pests and problems

No serious disease or insect problems.
Prune out unwanted suckers to control size.

Native geographic location and habitat

C-Value: 6
Native the the northeastern United States and the upper Midwest.

Attracts birds & butterflies

Fruit is eaten by a number of bird species, usually in mid to late winter.

Bark color and texture 

Bark is brown and relatively smooth, with obvious lenticels.

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture

Alternate, simple leaves; 1 to 3 inches long
Dark green foliage turns a deep mahogany red in fall.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size

Small clusters of white flowers in mid-spring.

Black chokeberry (Aronia melanocarpa)
Black chokeberry (Aronia melanocarpa)
photo: John Hagstrom

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions

Edible, purplish-black berry-like fruit (pomes).

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."

Iroquois Beauty™  (Aronia melanocarpa ‘Morton’ ):  2 to 3 feet high and  4 to 5 feet wide
Iroquois Beauty™ was selected at The Morton Arboretum and introduced by Chicagoland Grows® Introduction Program.

Location of Aronia melanocarpa (Black chokeberry) at the Arboretum