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Red Chokeberry

Our native Aronia arbutifolia with the common name of red chokeberry is a shrub that offers four seasons of interest in our gardens.

Red chokeberry.

Red chokeberry is related to our native black chokeberry as well as to our native serviceberry, and all are valued for their fruit that persists into winter.  Surprisingly, chokeberries and serviceberries are all members of the rose family, but there are only a few species.

The fruits of these shrubs are sour, and humans don’t like them, and even some birds ignore them during the fall. However, by winter the birds are happy to have them to eat.

Both red and black chokeberries have clusters of white blooms in the spring, pleasant green leaves all summer, strong colorful foliage in the fall, and attractive branching during the winter when the leaves have fallen and expose the structure.  Chokeberries even tolerate wet feet and poorly drained sites but will adapt to drought once established, and they grow in both sun and partial shade.

Selective pruning to remove old thick stems is recommended.  The red chokeberry, hybrid Brilliantissima is a popular variety in zones 4 to 8. It grows 8 feet tall and as wide. Give it good air circulation and sun for best fruit production, and you will please our feathered friends.

Moya Andrews

, originally from Queensland, Australia, served as Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculties at Indiana University until 2004. In the same year, Moya began hosting Focus on Flowers for WFIU. In addition, Moya does interviews for Profiles, is a member of the Bloomington Hospital Board, and authored Perennials Short and Tall from Indiana University Press.

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