Black chokeberry is an excellent landscaping shrub with white flowers in spring, colorful fruit in fall, and glossy green leaves that turn red in fall. Over the years, pruning may be needed at sites with limited space as it's size can be substantial with mature plants reaching eight or nine feet tall and up to ten feet across--excellent for wildlife. The edible fruits are dark and bitter and loaded with antioxidants. They are typically cooked or processed into jams, wines, teas, and other recipes rather than eaten raw. The flowers attract a number of bees and other pollinators. The foliage feeds the caterpillars of moths and hairstreak butterflies. While it can tolerate deer browse once or twice a year, it probably isn't the best choice for landscapes where deer are known to be problematic.
Black chokeberry has been cultivated in Russia (where it was introduced as an exotic species) for juice and wine since the 1940s, and there are several cultivars available. In Missouri, however, natural populations are rare and limited to Crowley's Ridge in Stoddard County.
Uses: Edible, wildlife, pollinators, landscaping
Bloom time: April - May
Height: 6 to 8 feet
Space: 4 to 10 feet
Sun: Sun to shade
Moisture: Average to moist