Aronia arbutifolia is a deciduous, multi-stemmed shrub native to both wet and dry thickets in Eastern North America. Grows with a vase-shaped habit to 6-10’ tall and to 3-6′ wide, and tends to sucker and form colonies. Clusters flowers appear in spring and are followed by glossy red fruits in dense clusters along the branches. ‘Brilliantissima’ is a selection offering more compact habit and larger and more abundant fruit.
Fruits ripen in late summer and persist on the shrub throughout fall and well into winter. Elliptic leaves are glossy dark green above and turns bright red in autumn, rivaling burning bush (Euonymus alatus) for excellence of fall color. Fruits are sometimes used to make tasty jams and jellies.
Aronia melanocarpa, commonly called black chokeberry, is an open, upright, deciduous shrub that typically grows 3-6’ tall. Autumn berries and purple-red foliage color. Native to swamps and low woodlands from Newfoundland to Minnesota south to Tennessee and South Carolina. Var. elata is more vigorous, slightly larger but less suckering, with longer leaves, larger flowers and larger fruit, and is thusly considered to be a superior landscaping shrub in comparison to the species.