“Small, pretty white blossoms in spring, orangey fall color and dark purplish-black berries make black chokeberry a great shrub for naturalistic massed plantings. An upright deciduous shrub that suckers to form a thicket of twigs and leaves, it is native to the moist soils of the eastern United States and a thin sliver of southeastern Canada. Individual plants have a cluster of many, thin, dark brown stems that have a white, waxy, semi-flaky film on the smaller, reddish-brown twigs. It is slightly shorter and denser in habit than its cousin, red chokeberry (A. arbutifolia).
Clusters of small,five-petaled white flowers appear in late spring and may have hints of pink. Bees pollinate the blossoms to form dangling clusters of purple-black berries that contrast with the gold, orange and orange-red leaves in fall. The fruits linger well into winter, finally being devoured by birds when other more tasty foods are gone.
Perfect for full sun or partially shaded spots, black chokeberry is most prolific in moist, fertile, well-drained, acidic soils. However, it adapts to many soils and light exposures, and it will produce a sparser thicket if placed in drier or less humus-rich ground. Full sun guarantees best fruiting and brighter fall leaf color. Use it in naturalistic garden designs, or as an accent shrub in a mixed border. It works terrifically well as a riverbank stabilizer, or in any large-scale planting in which a billowing mass is needed, especially in roadside ditches or moist swales around paved lots. Consider using the cultivar ‘Autumn Magic’ if you enjoy seeing larger and longer lasting black fruits on a more compact plant, or ‘Morton,’ an even smaller plant perfect for small yards or spaces.”
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