Aronia melanocarpa var. elata
Common Name: black chokeberry 
Type: Deciduous shrub
Family: Rosaceae
Native Range: Eastern North America
Zone: 3 to 8
Height: 5.00 to 8.00 feet
Spread: 6.00 to 10.00 feet
Bloom Time: May
Bloom Description: White
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Hedge, Naturalize, Rain Garden
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Good Fall
Attracts: Birds
Fruit: Showy, Edible


Easily grown in average, medium to wet, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Plants have a wide range of soil tolerance ranging from wet boggy soils to dry sandy ones. Best fruit production usually occurs in full sun. Remove root suckers to prevent colonial spread. Prune as needed in late winter.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Aronia melanocarpa, commonly called black chokeberry, is an open, upright, somewhat rounded-but-leggy, suckering, thicket-forming, deciduous shrub that typically grows 3-6’ tall. It is noted for its clusters of 5-petaled white spring flowers (May-June), glossy obovate dark green leaves (to 3” long), black 1" diameter autumn berries (blueberry size) and purple-red fall color. It is native to swamps, moist thickets and low woodlands from Newfoundland to Minnesota south to Tennessee and South Carolina. Although it is common in certain parts of its native range in eastern North America, it is somewhat rare in Missouri where it is only found at the base of Crowley's Ridge in Stoddard County.

Var. elata is more vigorous, slightly larger but less suckering, with longer leaves, larger flowers and larger fruit. It typically matures to 5-8' tall and to 6-10' wide. Var. elata is generally considered to be a superior landscaping shrub in comparison to the species.

Genus name comes from the Greek word aria the name for a species of Sorbus of which the fruits resemble chokeberry.

Specific epithet from Greek melano meaning black and carp meaning fruit.

The common name of chokeberry is in reference to the tart and bitter berries which are technically edible but so astringent as to sometimes cause choking in those who try. Fruits are used to make tasty jams, jellies and juice. Birds are attracted to the fruit.


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


Excellent ornamental features. Group or mass in shrub borders, small gardens or open woodland areas. Ability to withstand wet conditions makes it suitable for growing on the margins of ponds or streams. Excellent addition to naturalized areas where its suckering, colonial growth habit does not need to be restrained. Screen or hedge.