Black Chokeberry

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Black Chokeberry

Black Chokeberry-Aronia melanocarpa (Photinia melanocarpa)

The Black Chokeberry is a deciduous shrub native to Northeastern America. It is a native plant of Newfoundland, including the whole east coast down to Georgia and west to Arkansas and Minnesota. It has been successfully and extensively planted in Europe, Russia, and Asia. In America, it is commonly found naturally in wet woods, swamps and along lake shores in small colonies where they can sucker.

The shrub grows 3 to 8 feet tall and 2-6 feet wide. It has a medium growth rate of 12 o 24 inches per year. The Chokeberry shrub flowers in spring, producing small white to pink blooms, smaller than an inch in size with five petals. The berries follow the flowers and are purplish-black or black. They are present well into the winter. The berries have an astringent, semi-sweet flavor. Humans can eat the fruit of the Black Chokeberry. It is also used to make wine, jam, syrup, ice cream, beer, and salsa, to name a few of its food uses. The Black Chokeberry is also eaten by deer, rabbits, and birds.

The hardiness zones for the Black Chokeberry are 3 through 8. It is both heats tolerant and cold hardy. The chokeberry is often used as an ornamental plant in landscapes and gardens. It’s a natural understory plant, so it can easily be planted and grown underneath trees and used as an edging plant. Chokeberries planted in areas exposed to high concentrations of insects, disease, and pollution will thrive. The plant is also resistant to drought.

It prefers full sun but will tolerate partial shade. It grows hardily in poorly drained or wet soils and will tolerate well-drained soils: clay, loam, and sand. This is a suckering plant and is extremely successful at erosion control, being used as a wind breaking plant and in landscapes with wet soils.

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