Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Red Chokeberry - Aronia arbutifolia   (L.) Persoon
Members of Rosaceae:
Members of Aronia with account distribution info or public map:
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Section 6 » Order Rosales » Family Rosaceae
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Author(L.) Persoon
DistributionOccurs statewide, and likely is present in all 100 counties.

North Carolina lies near the center of the overall range, as the species ranges north to southern ME, south through the Appalachians and Atlantic slope into eastern TX and central FL. It does not range into the Midwestern states.
AbundanceCommon and widespread over nearly all of the state. Most numerous in the Coastal Plain and Sandhills, and least numerous in the Mountains, where it can be infrequent at middle or high elevations.
HabitatThe species is essentially found only in wetlands; this incudes bogs, swamps, wet bottomlands, pond and pool margins, pocosin margins, blackwater streamheads, and savannas.
PhenologyBlooms in early to mid-spring (late February to May); fruits in fall (September into November).
IdentificationThis is a familiar low to medium deciduous shrub, growing to 6-8 feet high; it is rhizomatous and thus can occur in colonies. Shrubs in this genus have small and abundant teeth along the margins of their elliptic leaves, though the teeth are not obvious sat much distance. This is the only one of the three Aronia species in the state with bright red fruit (pomes). If seen in spring or early summer, when the fruit are not ripe, the species can be separated from the other two in the genus by densely pubescent or tomentose undersides of the leaves. The poorly known A. prunifolia has a dark purple fruit when ripe, and the leaf undersides are only sparsely pubescent; it may also grow in wetland habitats similar to those of A. arbutifolia, at least in bogs.
Taxonomic CommentsNo taxonomic issues as a species, but it has been moved from genus to genus over the decades, including Sorbus (e.g., RAB 1968). It has also been placed at one time in Pyrus. One former name is Photinia pyrifolia. Actually, in RAB and some other older references, Aronia prunifolia was considered as a variety of this species, but it has since been split off as a separate species by most references.

Other Common Name(s)None in regular usage
State RankS5
Global RankG5
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US Status
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B.A. SorrieSandhills Game Land, streamhead near Naked Creek, 8 Oct 2020. RichmondPhoto_natural
B.A. SorrieSandhills, wet roadside, March.
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