Black Chokeberry- Aronia melanocarpa
The Black Chokeberry is a small to medium sized shrub. In the spring the shrub is covered in white five-petal flowers that grow in 5 to 6 flower clusters. The shrub usually begins its bloom in May. The berries come in around August and are black, blueberry-sized fruit. The leaves are dark green but turn a reddish purple color in the fall. The branches are slender and a green color that changes to reddish brown and then black as the shrub matures. At maturity, the shrub reaches a height of 6 feet and 6 feet wide with a moderate growth rate.
The Black Chokeberry attracts an abundance of wildlife. The white flowers attract pollinators like bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. Small mammals, bears, and birds eat the berries. People can also consume the astringent bitter berries, or use them for juices and jams. Deers, Sheep, and elk like to eat the young leaves. For these reasons, urban developers often use this shrub. The shrub also makes a decorative windbreak or shelterbelt. The dense low growth of the plant is ideal for reducing wind. The shrubs root system is ideal for controlling soil erosion.
The Black Chokeberry grows in hardiness zone 3 through 8. They grow naturally in eastern North America. The shrub can grow in any soil type but does best in acidic soils. It also does not do well in soil that does not drain easily. The shrub grows in full or partial sun. Black Chokeberry produces more berries if planted in full sun. The shrub can become victim to caterpillars. The shrub does not do well in drought. The plant needs water in drought-like conditions. If You wish to keep the shrub from spreading, then it will require pruning to remove suckers as they appear.