Aronia melanocarpa 'UCONNAM012' GROUND HOG

Leaf arrangement
Common Name: black chokeberry 
Type: Deciduous shrub
Family: Rosaceae
Zone: 3 to 8
Height: 0.75 to 1.00 feet
Spread: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Bloom Time: May
Bloom Description: White
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Ground Cover
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Good Fall
Attracts: Birds
Fruit: Showy, Edible
Tolerate: Erosion


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

Noteworthy Characteristics

Aronia melanocarpa, commonly called black chokeberry, is an open, upright, spreading, somewhat rounded but leggy, suckering, deciduous shrub that typically grows 3-6’ tall. It is native to low woods, swamps, bogs and moist thickets but occasionally to dry upland areas, from Newfoundland to southern Ontario and Minnesota south to Missouri, Tennessee and Georgia. It is noted for its 5-6 flowered clusters of white 5-petaled spring (May) flowers, glossy elliptic to obovate dark green leaves (to 2-3” long) with finely toothed margins, black autumn berries (blueberry size) and purple/red fall color.

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

Specific epithet comes from the words melano meaning "black" and carpa meaning "fruit" in reference to the color of ripe fruits of this species.

The common name of chokeberry is in reference to the tart and bitter taste of the fruits which are edible but so astringent as to cause choking in most of those who try. Fruits are sometimes used to make tasty jams and jellies.

'UCONNAM012' is a dwarf selection of black chokeberry characterized by its prostrate and densely branched growth habit. Mature plants will reach up to 1' tall and spread to fill a 3' area. The glossy, elliptic foliage retains its bright green color from spring through summer before turning bright shades of red and orange in fall. Clusters of small, white flowers bloom in spring and are followed by round, blue-black berries. The fruits are highly attractive to birds. Often sold at nurseries and garden centers under the names GROUND HOG or GROUND HUG. This plant is protected by patent number PP31821.


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


Group or mass in shrub borders, small gardens, and bird gardens. Ability to withstand wet conditions makes it suitable for growing on the margins of ponds or streams. Suitable for use as a shrubby ground cover and can be planted on embankments or slopes for stabilization.