Black Chokeberry (Aronia melanocarpa)
Black chokeberry is helpful as a food source. The berries, although astringent in taste, are edible. In addition, they are a common food source for wildlife in late fall, and the survivor can use the shurbs as a lure for squirrels or birds (thus providing even more food).
Black chokeberries have also been shown to provide a defense against colon cancer. (Nobody wants to survive a global epidemic of contagious disease, only to die of colon cancer).
Of Note to Pre-Apocalyptic Landscape Architects:
Alternate, finely serrated leaves. Black berries in late fall, each containing many seeds. Red buds on winter twigs. Often found near rivers, in moist woods, or on bluffs or hillsides. Full to partial sun. Thrives in a variety of sites, including moist clay and dry, alkaline sand/rocky soil. Prefers moist, well-drained soil. No serious insect threats. Continuous moisture can cause fruit to rot, spreading disease. Establishes quickly, good fall foliage, winter berries. Plant sparingly; strong tendency to sucker and colonize nearby areas.