Aronia arbutifolia (L.) Pers.
Photinia pyrifolia (Lam.) K.R. Robertson & Phipps
Aronia arbutifolia (L.) Pers. var. brilliantissima hort.
Aronia arbutifolia (L.) Pers. var. glabra Elliot
Pyrus arbutifolia (L.) L. f.
Pyrus arbutifolia (L.) L. f. var. glabra Cronquist
Sorbus arbutifolia (L.) Heynh.
Red Chokeberry, Chokeberry
Wild chokeberries like the red chokeberry are native to eastern North America.
Identification: These reach up to 8' (2.4 m) in height, with a spread of about 4' (1.2 m). They are composed of many thin, flexible stems and assume a tall, thin overall shape. Leaves are alternate, obovate, 1½-3½" (3.8-8.9 cm) × ½-¾" (1.3-1.9 cm), shiny on top, finely hairy and grayish green below, with fine serrations. In the fall, leaves are reddish purple or bright red. Blooms are white, sometimes pinkish, with five petals, about ¼" (6.3 mm) around, and fragrant. Berries are bright red and fairly hard, about ⅜" (9.5 mm), like tiny apples. Berries are about ¼" (6.3 mm) around, in clusters, and last well into winter. Don’t confuse chokeberries and chokecherries.
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|Plant||Typically 6-15' (1.8-4.6 m) high||A large shrub or small tree up to 18' (5.5 m) high|
|Flowers||Small pale pink flowers, about ½" (1.3 cm), with five petals each, in bunches of 10-25||Bunches (“racemes”) of 15-30 white flowers, each about ½" (1.3 cm) in size|
|Leaves||Alternate, red in autumn, covered with fine soft hairs on the underside||Fine serrations, dark above and pale green underneath|
|Fruit||Red, about ⅜" (9.5 mm) in diameter; very sour||Bright red to dark red or black, ¼-⅝" (6.3-15 mm) in diameter, extremely sour|
USDA Zones: 4-9
|Habitats||Wet woods, swamps||Moist woods; stream banks; prairie hillsides; fence rows; rocky bluffs; roadsides|
Edibility: The berries are not poisonous, but they are so tart that they cause choking. Cooked and sweetened, they find their way into jams, syrups, tea, and wine. Native North Americans used these fruits in pemmican.
Aronia arbutifolia on the New England Wildflower Society’s GoBotany site
Aronia arbutifolia on Erv Evans' site at the North Carolina State University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
Aronia arbutifolia at the University of Connecticut Plant Database
Aronia arbutifolia at the Missouri Botanical Garden
Aronia arbutifolia on Plants for a Future, a resource and information centre for edible and otherwise useful plants
Aronia arbutifolia description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 12 Oct 2018.
Range: Zones 4-9: