fbpx Purple chokeberry | The Morton Arboretum

Purple chokeberry

Fruit of purple chokeberry.

Purple chokeberry is a multi-stemmed, large shrub with showy white spring flowers, dark green foliage, beautiful red fall color and deep purple berries. An excellent choice for massing in low, wet areas in the landscape.

"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."   

Botanical name:

Aronia prunifolia

All Common Names:

purple chokeberry; purple-fruited chokeberry

Family (English):


Family (Botanic):


Tree or Plant Type:

  • Shrub

Native Locale:

  • Illinois

Landscape Uses:

  • Hedge,
  • Massing,
  • Mixed border,
  • Shade tree

Size Range:

  • Large shrub (more than 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 (Chicago),
  • Zone 6,
  • Zone 7

Soil Preference:

  • Acid soil,
  • Alkaline soil,
  • Dry soil,
  • Moist, well-drained soil,
  • Sandy soil,
  • Wet soil


  • Dry sites,
  • Occasional drought,
  • Wet sites,
  • Occasional flooding,
  • Alkaline soil,
  • Clay soil,
  • Road salt

Season of Interest:

  • Mid spring,
  • Late spring,
  • Early summer,
  • Mid summer,
  • Late summer,
  • Early fall,
  • Mid fall

Flower Color & Fragrance:

  • White

Shape or Form:

  • Columnar,
  • Multi-stemmed,
  • Narrow,
  • Open,
  • Thicket-forming,
  • Upright

Growth Rate:

  • Slow

More Information:

Tree & Plant Care

A large 8 to 12 feet high and 8 to 10 feet wide shrub excellent for wet sites.
Suckering habit requires pruning in landscape situations.
Grows best in full sun in moist soil, but tolerant of part shade in drier conditions once established.
Although it prefers acidic soil it is adaptable other soils types.
May be difficult to find in nurseries.

Disease, pests, and problems

Leaf spots, twig blights, borers

Disease, pest, and problem resistance

Tolerant of wet soils and salt.

Native geographic location and habitat

C-Value: 6
Found growing in boggy areas, swampy woods, and along stream banks in Northeastern and Midwestern U.S.

Attracts birds & butterflies

A popular food source for migrating and winter birds.

Bark color and texture 

Young stems are reddish-brown becoming grayish-brown with age.

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture

Alternate. Oval to elliptical, 2 1/2 inches long, dark green, finely toothed with a pair of raised glands on the petioles.
Fall color is wine-red.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size

Showy, small, 5-petaled clusters of white flowers in the spring.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions

A dark purple, 1/3-inch diameter juicy berry. Although edible it is tart and bitter. Fruit ripens in August and persists into winter.



Location of Aronia prunifolia (Purple chokeberry) at the Arboretum