2018 – Black Chokeberry
Black Chokeberry is an underused deciduous native shrub, but one that is gaining in popularity for a number of reasons. Growing from about 2’ to about 6’ in height, depending on cultivar, it is a very tough plant able to grow in a wide range of garden conditions. It tolerates pollution, salt, drought, insects, diseases, sun, shade, and even deer.
In addition to being tough, it is also quite attractive with all-season interest. In spring, clusters of showy white flowers cover the shrub; in late summer, the flowers make way for clusters of glossy black fruits that dangle from the branches at around the time the leaves have begun transitioning for a fine fall show of red and burgundy; and in winter, after the leaves have fallen, the fruits persist and attract a variety of overwintering songbirds. These blueberry-sized fruits are also edible for humans and though they are very tart and astringent when raw, they have been processed into a variety of anti-oxidant rich drinks and dietary supplements all around the world.
Black Chokeberry grows with an open, rounded habit with glossy, bright green leaves covering only the top 2/3 of the plant. Knowing this, it is suggested to plant it in masses and in combination with other plants that will fill in the voids near the base of the plants.