Black Choke Berry - Aronia melanocarpa
The Black Choke Berry is a dense-growing bush that is often used to protect marshland, swamps, and coastal shores. The compact root system helps the plant hold steadfast letting it withstand more wind than most plant life. It is often placed in front of windbreaks and protected marshes to absorb low-level air currents. This rounded shrub can reach eight feet tall and between two and six feet wide depending on the competing plants surrounding it. Long, slender, dark green leaves with jagged edges adorn the thin, twig-like stalks of the Black Choke Berry. In the early spring, there are clusters of five-petaled white and pink flowers that gather at the ends of the shoots in two and three-inch bouquets. These flowers produce fruit that turns purplish-black later in the year, typically around Labor Day. The leaves change from a bright green to brilliant shades of reds, oranges, and purples. The plump fruit is edible but is generally used in jellies, preserves, and other baking items.
Native to Minnesota, The Black Choke Berry is often used as a windbreak plant, but it is versatile enough to be placed in residential settings. This medium growing plant is often found in hardiness areas three to eight in the United States. It thrives in many soil types including clay, alkaline, acidic, sandy, and wet. This bush likes to be in the sun, and it will tolerate shade too. It is a versatile and robust plant that can grow in various climates which is why it is used in a lot of storm-ravaged areas like coastlines. There are dozens of wildlife, mammals, insects, and birds that flock to this plant because of the flowers and the berries that it grows. Deer, bear, elk, moose, honeybees, sheep, ants, butterflies, rabbits, and other animals use the plant for food, shelter, and nesting supplies. Many species use the various parts of the plant for different needs like bedding and protection from harsh weather conditions.