This section is from the book "An Illustrated Flora Of The Northern United States, Canada And The British Possessions Vol2", by Nathaniel Lord Britton, Addison Brown. Also available from Amazon: An Illustrated Flora of the Northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions. 3 Volume Set..
Low shrubs, with alternate simple petioled finely serrate leaves, the upper side of the midrib glandular, the narrow stipules early deciduous. Flowers small, white or pink, in terminal compound cymes. Calyx urn-shaped, 5-lobed. Petals 5, concave, spreading. Stamens numerous. Styles 3-5, united at the base. Ovary woolly. Pome small, globose or somewhat top-shaped, not hollowed at the base, its carpels rather leathery. [Name modified from Aria, the beam-tree of Europe.]
The genus consists of the following species, the first typical.
Cyme and lower surfaces of the leaves woolly.
Fruit short-pyriform, bright red; calyx-lobes very glandular.
Cyme and leaves glabrous or nearly so: fruit black or purplish.
Fl. Bor. Am. 1: 292. 1803. A. arbutifolia Ell. Bot. S. C. & Ga. 1: 556. 1821.
A branching shrub, sometimes reaching a height of 12o, but usually much lower. Leaves petioled, oval, oblong or obovate, obtuse or abruptly short-pointed at the apex, narrowed or somewhat cuneate at the base, 1' - 3' long, serrulate-crenulate, glabrous above, generally densely tomentose beneath; cymes terminal, but at length overtopped by the young sterile shoots, compound; flowers white or purplish-tinged, 4"-6" broad; calyx and pedicels tomentose; calyx-lobes very glandular; pome 2"-3" in diameter, and bright red when mature, long-persistent.
Swamps and wet woods, Massachusetts to Florida, Ohio and Louisiana, often confused with the following species, from which it is quite distinct in fruit. Recorded from Arkansas. Choke-pear. Dog-berry. March-May.
Aronia atropurpurea Britton, Man. 517. 1901.
A shrub, sometimes 12o high, usually taller than the other species. Calyx, pedicels and lower leaf-surfaces tomentose; leaves oval to obovate; calyx-lobes gland-less, or with very few glands; fruit oval to globose, purple-black, 3"-5" long, persistent into late autumn.
Wet grounds, especially shaded swamps, Newfoundland to Ontario, Michigan and Virginia, perhaps extending south to Florida. April-June.
Mespilus arbutifolia var. nigra Willd. Sp. Pl. 2: 1013.
1800. Mespilus arbutifolia var. melanocarpa Michx. Fl. Bor.
A shrub resembling the preceding species. Leaves obovate or oval, obtuse, acute or abruptly acuminate at the apex, narrowed or cuneate at the base, short-petioled, crenulate, dark green above, paler beneath, glabrous or nearly so on both surfaces; flowers similar to the preceding; calyx and pedicels nearly glabrous; calyx-lobes glandular; fruit globose or oval, nearly black, or purplish black, 3"-4" in diameter, early deciduous.
In swamps or low woods, or sometimes in drier soil, Nova Scotia to western Ontario, south to Florida and Michigan. Ascends to 6000 ft. in North Carolina. March-June.