This week’s featured native shrubs are Aronia melanocarpa, Black Chokeberry, from the Blue Ridge, Appalachia, and the northern part of Georgia, and Red Chokeberry, Aronia arbutifolia which is common in the Piedmont. Chokeberry are edible, fruit bearing shrubs whose berries are used by humans as well as migrating birds and wildlife. The pomes (often called berries) of both species are edible.
On both shrubs, early spring sees an abundance of delicate white flower clusters that look like small apple blossoms, and are a favorite of native pollinators. In fall the foliage of both the Red Chokeberry and the Black Chokeberry blazes scarlet. The fruits of the black chokeberry are often gone as soon as they are ripe, however the fruit of the Red Chokeberry is winter persistent.
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