Aronia melanocarpa (Black Chokeberry)

Plant Info
Also known as:
Family:Rosaceae (Rose)
Life cycle:perennial woody
Habitat:part shade, sun; moist to wet; bogs, swamps, open shrubby wetlands and forest openings
Bloom season:May - July
Plant height:4 to 8 feet
Wetland Indicator Status:GP: OBL MW: FACW NCNE: FAC
MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

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Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: 5-petals Cluster type: flat

[photo of flowers] Rounded clusters from buds at the tips of branches, each cluster with 7 to 18 flowers on branching stalks, typically opening after leaves are fully developed. Flowers are 1/3 to ½ inch across with 5 white or pinkish tinged, round to egg-shaped petals. In the center is a column of 5 green styles surrounded by 18 to 20 dark pink tipped stamens that are shorter than the petals. The calyx cupping the flower has 5 triangular lobes, about 1/3 the length of petals, the outer surface with sparse glands, smooth or hairy, the inner surface hairy.

Leaves and stems: Leaf attachment: alternate Leaf type: simple

[scan of leaf] Leaves are simple and alternate, 1¼ to 3¾ inches long, ¾ to 1½ inches wide, somewhat variable in shape from nearly round to urn-shaped, mostly widest above the middle, often with an abrupt taper to a sharp point at the tip. Edges are finely serrated with a minute, reddish to brown gland at the tip of each tooth. The upper surface is dark green and smooth with reddish glands along the midvein, the lower surface pale green, smooth or with sparse fine hairs.

[photo of twig] Twigs are red and smooth with scattered white lenticels (pores).

[photo of lower stems] Older bark is gray and smooth or becoming rough below, lower stems 1 to 1¼ inches in diameter. Stems are multiple from the base, erect, spreading via root suckers.

Fruit: Fruit type: berry/drupe

[photo of fruit] Fruit is a bluish black berry, ¼ to ½ inch diameter, astringent or bitter tasting.


Black Chokeberry is occasional throughout central and north eastern forests, though most common in open shrublands of the Anoka Sandplain. It would most likely be confused with a Prunus species, also in the Rose family, but the small red glands along the upper leaf midrib and pink stamens that are shorter than the petals are diagnostic. While not extensively used, it is a landscape shrub, often selected on very glossy upper leaf surfaces and vibrant fall color

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More photos

Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in Anoka County.


Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?

Posted by: Sarah N - Roseville
on: 2017-07-20 01:52:26

Thanks for your informative site. I'm wondering about harvesting and eating chokeberry (which I've heard is very healthy and even tasty if cooked). I've heard that they are sweeter once frozen... So are they considered a winter berry? Could they be harvested in winter after freezing and snowfall?

Posted by: Tim - Grand Portage National Monument
on: 2020-09-08 13:29:01

Growing along the shore outside the stockade. May be wild type vs cultivar I purchased and planted grown by Bailey Nursery. Possibly GPNM planted them for erosion control.

Posted by: Travis Bonovsky - Lake Maria State Park, Monticello
on: 2022-10-22 19:51:58

Found a couple of large shrubs of this plant growing near the top of the steep hill near the check-in building at Lake Maria State Park in October of 2022. Took me a while to positively ID and considered both Downy Arrow-wood and Black Chokeberry, neither of which had similar leaves. Leaves were a beautiful, bright red with dark purple/black berries on bright red stems.

Posted by: Janet M Gouvas - Gabbro Lake, BWCAW
on: 2023-07-31 09:02:59

Found near the water's edge on an island. In fruit.

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