Aronia arbutifolia is a shrub to 3 m tall, colonial from rhizomes, twigs slender brownish, finely wooly.Winter buds often wine red, small, pointed.
Leaves alternate, to 7 cm densely pale hairy below, small glands along midrib above and at tips of marginal teeth; fall color bright red.
Flowers white about 0.8 cm wide, petals and sepals 5, stamens numerous, anthers reddish; in clusters of 9-20, April-May.
Fruit fleshy, red, to 1 cm diam., 1-5 seeded, persistent, ripens Sept.-Oct., persistent into winter (Dirr 1991). Seed load 10%. Pulp nutrients: water 74%, lipid <1%, protein 4%, CHO 12% (White 1989).
Wetland status: FACW.
Frequency in NYC: Frequent.
Habitat: Undisturbed moist-wet forests and edges with acid soil, pH 5-6.5. Swamps and wet woods, salt marsh edges and back dune swales and wet woodlands (Hough 1983). Tolerant of flooding saturated soil 25% growing season), salt, soil compaction. Moderately tolerant of shade, drought (Hightshoe 1988). planted in many wetland restorations.
Notes: Fruit and buds eaten by some birds, twigs eaten by deer and rabbits. Seeds eaten by mice (Martin et al. 1951).