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Red chokeberry

Fruit of 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.


This plant has some cultivated varieties. Go to list of cultivars.


Botanical name:

Aronia arbutifolia

All common names:

Red chokeberry

Family (English):


Family (Botanic):


Tree or Plant Type:

  • Shrub

Native Locale:

  • North America

Landscape Uses:

  • Hedge,
  • Massing,
  • Mixed border,
  • Specimen

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 (Chicago),
  • Zone 6,
  • Zone 7,
  • Zone 8,
  • Zone 9

Soil Preference:

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


  • Wet sites,
  • Occasional flooding,
  • Alkaline soil

Seasons 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 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 

 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.

Location of Aronia arbutifolia (Red chokeberry) at the Arboretum