Aronia arbutifolia 'Brilliantissima'

Tried and Trouble-free Recommended by 8 Professionals
Common Name: chokeberry
Type: Deciduous shrub
Family: Rosaceae
Zone: 4 to 9
Height: 6.00 to 8.00 feet
Spread: 3.00 to 4.00 feet
Bloom Time: April
Bloom Description: White
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Hedge, Naturalize, Rain Garden
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Good Fall
Fruit: Showy
Other: Winter Interest
Tolerate: Erosion, Clay Soil

Culture

Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Wide range of soil tolerance including boggy soils. Best fruit production usually occurs in full sun. Remove root suckers to prevent colonial spread.

Noteworthy Characteristics

This red chokeberry cultivar is a deciduous shrub which typically grows slowly to 6-8' tall and is perhaps most noted for its attractive glossy red berries and red fall foliage color. Tends to sucker somewhat like amelanchiers (serviceberries). Clusters (corymbs) of white to pinkish, 5-petaled flowers (1/3" in diameter) appear in spring. Flowers are followed by abundant glossy red fruits (3/8" diameter) which appear in dense clusters along the branches. Fruits ripen in late summer and persist throughout fall and well into winter. Obovate to elliptic, glossy, dark green leaves (to 3" long) are grayish-green beneath. Foliage turns bright red in autumn and compares favorably with burning bush (Euonymus alatus) for excellence of fall color. 'Brilliantissima' primarily differs from the species by (1) being more compact, (2) producing more lustrous foliage with superior red fall color and (3) producing larger, glossier and more abundant fruit. Common name is in reference to the tart and bitter berries which are technically edible but so astringent as to cause choking in those who try. Fruits are sometimes used to make tasty jams and jellies. Species is native to both wet and dry thickets primarily in eastern North America.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Some susceptibility to leaf spots and twig/fruit blight.

Garden Uses

Group or mass in shrub borders or woodland areas. Ability to withstand wet conditions makes it suitable for growing on the margins of ponds or streams. Also effective in naturalized areas where its suckering, colonial growth habit does not need to be restrained.