Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Red Chokeberry
Aronia arbutifolia 'Brilliant'

Family: Rosaceae (ro-ZAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Aronia (ar-ROH-nee-uh) (Info)
Species: arbutifolia (ar-bew-tih-FOH-lee-uh) (Info)
Cultivar: Brilliant
Additional cultivar information: (formerly Brilliantissima)

Synonym:Photinia pyrifolia

5 vendors have this plant for sale.


6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)

36-48 in. (90-120 cm)
4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)
USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)
USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun
Sun to Partial Shade


Bloom Color:
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Mid Spring

Good Fall Color

Other details:
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Flowers are fragrant
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From woody stem cuttings
From semi-hardwood cuttings
From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall
From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse
From seed; stratify if sowing indoors
By grafting
By air layering

Seed Collecting:
Remove fleshy coating on seeds before storing
Allow unblemished fruit to ripen; clean and dry seeds
Unblemished fruit must be significantly overripe before harvesting seed; clean and dry seeds
Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored

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5 positives
1 neutral
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive coriaceous On Mar 13, 2014, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

This shrub's natural habit is loose, open, and graceful. The white May flowers are showy, though malodorous (like Callery pears). The red fall fruits are also attractive, and fall color is a good red.

This shrub has been widely promoted as a native alternative to the ecologically invasive burning bush (Euonymous alatus). It does not naturally take on the dense twiggy habit of a burning bush. As the pics show, people wanting it as a burning bush substitute would call it "leggy". It also spreads by suckering, sometimes aggressively, and may not be appropriate for all applications.

It has its own charms, different from burning bush's.

The pic of the Missouri Botanic Garden's hedge surprised me---I've never seen this species grow so densely. I've never thought of it as suitable for shearing, but it looks as if I may be wrong.

Positive Rickwebb On Jan 3, 2014, Rickwebb from Downingtown, PA wrote:

I have not seen any Red Chokeberry that are not this cultivar, except for one wild plant. It has slightly larger fruit and abundant fruit more than the mother species.

It is a very handsome plant that is informal in habit. It has handsome foliage and big red buds, great orange to red fall color, handsome erect stems with smooth gray bark, sort of like its close relative of Serviceberry. It suckers some in well-drained soils and a lot in wet soils. It is easy to prune and does not need much of that being a neat, clean plant. It would be nice to have more cultivars of this, as just having almost always one limits the genetic diversity, or get the straight species. The fruit is very tart. The birds normally don't eat the fruit until later in winter or even not at all some years. It is a wonderfully leggy shrub; one does not need shrubs to always be bushy to the ground. It has a nice see-through quality. Coriaceous above needs a greater revelation of naturalistic and native plants that does not always match with the standard evaluation of ornamentals.

Positive Grinder12000 On May 30, 2011, Grinder12000 from Columbus, WI wrote:

The older this plant gets the more we love it. Brilliant red in the fall. Light feathery with an intoxicating fragrance when it flowers. Dark green foliage otherwise. The white flowers in May are followed by glossy, bright-red berries that last all winter. In spring Robins love eating the berries.

Positive alph On May 21, 2006, alph from Wrentham, MA wrote:

best for a hedge planting. open, "feathery" structure looks nice against contrasting background, such as evergreens. bright red berries last well into winter. beautiful autumn foliage is scarlet red.

Positive smiln32 On May 25, 2005, smiln32 from Oklahoma City, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

Tolerates heavy clay and/or wet soils. Hardy to zone 5. Can reach a height of 9'. Flowers are white and appear in May. Fruits are bright red and last a long time. Autumn foliage is lovely.

Neutral ILvillapark On Sep 1, 2004, ILvillapark from Villa Park, IL wrote:

This plant is best used in mass since it is rather twiggy. The foliage is not very lush. It looks good in a natural, woodland, informal setting. It flowers in early spring, lasting for about a week. Berries form in mid-summer and usually fall off by late fall. Consider Aronia 'Erecta' for a neater appearance.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Moscow, Idaho
Hampshire, Illinois
Villa Park, Illinois
Fort Wayne, Indiana
Millis, Massachusetts
Roslindale, Massachusetts
Wrentham, Massachusetts
Ludington, Michigan
West Chester, Pennsylvania
Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania
Rumford, Rhode Island
Nashville, Tennessee
Essex Junction, Vermont
Linden, Virginia
Columbus, Wisconsin
Wilson, Wyoming

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