Shrubs of Wisconsin

Aronia melanocarpa (Michx.) Elliot
black chokeberry
Family: Rosaceae
shrub branch leaves leaves
with glands on upper midrib
flowers fruit bud

Aronia melanocarpa is a shrub with simple, finely-toothed alternate leaves, and a scattering of coarse, dark hairs along the upper side of the leaf midrib. Flowers have 5 bright white petals, not unlike many other woody species in this family, and fruits are 5-7 mm in diameter, juicy, and dark purple to black. Leaves and twigs are usually glabrous, unlike the gray or whitish tomentose twigs and leaves of the very similar A. X prunifolia. It is generally a bushy, low plant seldom exceeding 2 meters in Wisconsin, though sometimes reaching greater heights farther south.

Aronia melanocarpa is usually a species of wet, sunny or partly shaded sites, although some sites may become quite dry as the growing season progresses. I find this plant most often as a shoreline species of lakes or streams or at the interface of marshes or bogs with adjacent uplands on sandy soils. It seems to be widely distributed in Wisconsin, though production of a map awaits determination of vouchers that have not distinguished between this species and A. X prunifolia.


map not available
known Wisconsin distribution


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