Plant Common Name
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Dainty white flowers dot this shrub's foliage in late spring, followed by astringent deep purple berries in summer and red fall foliage. The purple chokeberry is a thicket-forming upright deciduous shrub from the eastern United States, regarded as a naturally-occurring hybrid between the red chokeberry (Aronia arbutifolia) and black chokeberry (Aronia melanocarpa).
The foliage is green, becoming deep green with a hint of gray because of the sparse hairs on the undersides of its rounded oval leaves. In mid- or late spring, many small five-petaled flowers occur in clusters along the branches, attracting bees for pollination. By mid- to late summer, a dense crop of small deep purple berries ripen and are edible but astringent, causing most people to "choke" from the taste. These berries often persist into midwinter, and are a food source for birds. In autumn, the foliage turns to shades of brilliant orange-red to a rich royal burgundy-red.
Grow purple chokeberry in full sun to partial shade, realizing flowering and fruiting is most abundant in full sun. Adaptable to many soils, it excels in moist, acidic soils that are rich in humus, but tolerates any well-draining or seasonally soggy fertile location. To prevent a thicket from forming, suckers (sprouts arising from the spreading roots) should be pruned away on a regular schedule. Use chokeberry as an informal hedge or windbreak, or as a mixed border specimen if kept pruned to a single plant. It is best planted in a location where it can form a small thicket such as the edge of a woodland or along the shores of a pond.
AHS Heat Zone
8 - 1
USDA Hardiness Zone
4 - 7
1b, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6
Full Sun, Partial Sun, Partial Shade
8'-12' / 2.4m - 3.7m
6'-9' / 1.8m - 2.7m
Hybrid Origin, Northeastern United States, Mid-Atlantic United States, Southeastern United States
Clay, Loam, Sand
Wet Site, Drought
Spring, Summer, Fall