Aronia melanocarpa (Michx.) Elliott

Black Chokeberry

Aronia melanocarpa plant

Family - Rosaceae

Habit - Shrubs to 3 m, unarmed.

Stems - To 3 m, multiple from base, woody, branching. New growth hairy, green, becoming purplish-brown or grayish-brown with maturity.

Aronia melanocarpa stem

Leaves - Alternate, petiolate, stipulate. Stipules at base of new leaves, 3 mm long, linear, the margins with reddish glandular teeth. Petiole to 5 mm long, lanate-tomentose. Blade obovate to elliptic, serrulate, acute to acuminate, deep green above, paler below, to 9 cm long, 4 cm broad, glabrous above but with scattered small peglike glands along midrib, glabrous or finely pubescent below.

Aronia melanocarpa leaves

Aronia melanocarpa leavesMidrib glands

Inflorescence - Terminal cymose panicle on new growth, to 5 cm broad, 5 cm long, appearing with the new seasons leaves. Pedicels densely lanate, 1 cm long.

Flowers - Corolla rotate, 1.5cm broad. Petals 5, white, clawed, glabrous. Claw to 1.2mm long. Limb orbicular, 5mm in diameter. Stamens +/-20. Filaments white, glabrous, 4mm long, anthers pinkish to rose, .9mm long and broad. Style 5-parted, reddish-brown at apex, whitish below, 4mm long. Ovary inferior, 5-locular. Receptacle lanate. Hypanthium -2mm long(tall), 3.5mm broad, campanulate, lanate. Sepals 5, 2mm long, 2mm broad at base, triangular.

Aronia melanocarpa flowerFlower close-up.

Aronia melanocarpa hypanthiumHypanthium and sepals.

Fruits - Berrylike pomes, 7-10 mm long, globose, glabrous, purplish black at maturity, with 5 easily exposed seeds embedded in the "core" of inconspicuous papery carpel wall remains and the fleshy portion.

Aronia melanocarpa fruitsPersistent fruits.

Flowering - April - June.

Habitat - Low woods, moist to wet ground, also cultivated.

Origin - Native to U.S.

Other info. - This species is widely cultivated throughout Missouri but is found wild in only one southeastern county. It is an easy species to identify because of its showy flower clusters and blackish fruits. The fruits aren't really eaten much by wild animals, hence you will find them on the tree after the leaves have fallen and well into winter.

Photographs taken in Columbia, MO., 4-21-04 (DETenaglia); also at Holly Ridge Conservation Area, 4-20-2013 (SRTurner).


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