Aronia arbitufolia "Brilliantissima" - "Brilliantissima" Chokeberry
This red chokeberry cultivar is a deciduous shrub which typically grows slowly to 6-8' tall and is perhaps most noted for its attractive glossy red berries and red fall foliage color. Tends to sucker somewhat like amelanchiers (serviceberries). Clusters (corymbs) of white to pinkish, 5-petaled flowers (1/3" in diameter) appear in spring. Flowers are followed by abundant glossy red fruits (3/8" diameter) which appear in dense clusters along the branches. Fruits ripen in late summer and persist throughout fall and well into winter. Obovate to elliptic, glossy, dark green leaves (to 3" long) are grayish-green beneath. Foliage turns bright red in autumn and compares favorably with burning bush (Euonymus alatus) for excellence of fall color. 'Brilliantissima' primarily differs from the species by (1) being more compact, (2) producing more lustrous foliage with superior red fall color and (3) producing larger, glossier and more abundant fruit. Common name is in reference to the tart and bitter berries which are technically edible but so astringent as to cause choking in those who try. Fruits are sometimes used to make tasty jams and jellies. Species is native to both wet and dry thickets primarily in eastern North America.