Aronia arbutifolia (L.) Pers.
Red Chokeberry, Red Chokecherry
Rosaceae (Rose Family)
Synonym(s): Aronia arbutifolia var. brilliantissima, Aronia arbutifolia var. glabra, Photinia pyrifolia, Pyrus arbutifolia, Pyrus arbutifolia var. glabra, Sorbus arbutifolia
USDA Symbol: ARAR7
Red chokeberry is a multi-stemmed shrub, 6-12 ft. tall, with four-season interest. In spring, flat-topped clusters of white, five-petaled flowers with red anthers are borne in profusion. They give way to dark green, glossy leaves that consistently turn a rich, orange-red in fall. Also appearing in fall are the bright red, pear-shaped, berry-like fruit. These remain until December or January and along with the reddish-brown, exfoliating bark add color to the winter landscape.
A native shrub, this species forms sizable colonies and is excellent for naturalistic landscaping. A closely related, black-fruited species, Black Chokeberry (P. melanocarpa), has leaves that are hairless beneath; it is found from Ontario east to Newfoundland and south to Georgia and Arkansas. Growing in much the same range, Purple Chokeberry (P. floribunda), which appears to be derived by hybridization of Red and Black Chokeberry, has purple fruit. Although chokeberry fruits persist through much of the winter, they appear to be of little importance to wildlife; they are occasionally eaten by game birds and songbirds and reportedly by bears. Chokeberry species are sometimes placed in the genus Aronia.
From the Image Gallery
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Fruit Type: Pome
Size Notes: Up to about 12 feet tall.
Autumn Foliage: yes
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White , Pink
Bloom Time: Feb , Mar , Apr , May
Bloom Notes: White to pale pink.
DistributionUSA: AL , AR , CT , DC , DE , FL , GA , KY , LA , MA , MD , ME , MS , NC , NH , NJ , NY , OK , PA , RI , SC , TN , TX , VA , WV
Canada: NB , NS , PE
Native Distribution: N.S. to FL & extreme e. TX
Native Habitat: Pine bottomlands; swamps; open bogs
Growing ConditionsWater Use: High
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Moist
Soil pH: Acidic (pH<6.8)
CaCO3 Tolerance: Low
Soil Description: Moist, rich soils.
BenefitUse Wildlife: Intermediate food source for birds.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
PropagationDescription: Propagate by seed or softwood cuttings. Softwood cuttings root without hormone treatment.
Seed Collection: Collect and remove from red-ripe fruit in mid-autumn. An alternative is to let the fruits dry with seeds inside.
Seed Treatment: 90 days of cold-moist stratification will break seed dormancy.
Commercially Avail: yes
Find Seed or Plants
View propagation protocol from Native Plants Network.
National Wetland Indicator Status
From the National Organizations DirectoryAccording to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:
Native Plant Center at Westchester Community College, The - Valhalla, NY
Crosby Arboretum - Picayune, MS
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department - Austin, TX
Natural Biodiversity - Johnstown, PA
Mt. Cuba Center - Hockessin, DE
BibliographyBibref 841 - Native Alternatives to Invasive Plants (2006) Burrell, C. C.
Bibref 318 - Native Texas Plants: Landscaping Region by Region (2002) Wasowski, S. & A. Wasowski
Search More Titles in Bibliography
Web ReferenceWebref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter
Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Aronia arbutifolia in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Aronia arbutifolia in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Aronia arbutifolia
MetadataRecord Modified: 2023-05-09
Research By: TWC Staff