The genus Aronia has been variously treated by botanists. The species intergrade, and this has led some botanists to treat the genus as comprising a single, very variable species (Aronia arbutifolia), whilst others have treated it as comprising several distinct species. We are following the current (2016) treatment of the genus in the Flora of North America, which recognizes two distinct species plus a naturally occurring hybrid between the two[
]. In addition, another species of hybrid origin is recognized here (Aronia mitschurinii A.K.Skvortsov & Maitul.), though this is likely to be recognized as a bigeneric hybrid (Sorbaronia mitschurinii (Skvortsov & Maitul.) Sennikov) in the future[
Historically, species in the genus have been assigned variously to Adenorachis, Crataegus, Halmia, Malus, Mespilus, Pyrus, and Sorbus. More recently it has been included in Photinia, but a phylogenetic analysis by C. S. Campbell et al. (2007), using chloroplast and nuclear DNA sequence data, did not find a close relationship between Aronia arbutifolia and Photinia villosa.
Species in the genus hybridize with some Sorbus species (forming the intergeneric hybrid ×Sorbaronia C.K.Schneider), and the genus as a whole has sometimes been treated as a subgenus or section of Sorbus.
Adenorachis arbutifolia (L.) Nieuwl.
Aronia × densiflora Spach
Aronia densa Carriére
Aronia depressa Spach
Aronia glabrescens Spach
Aronia nigra Dippel
Aronia pubens Spach
Aronia pumila (Neumann) M.Roem.
Aronia pyrifolia (Lam.) Pers.
Crataegus pyrifolia Lam.
Cydonia maulei grandiflora-rosea Froebel ex Olbrich
Hahnia arbutifolia (L.) Medik.
Halmia tomentosa pyrifolia (Lam.) M.Roem.
Mespilus arbutifolia L.
Mespilus pumila Schmidt
Photinia pyrifolia (Lam.) K.R.Robertson & J.B.Phipps
Pyrus arbutifolia (L.) L.f.
Pyrus densiflora (Spach) Steud.
Pyrus depressa Lindl.
Pyrus pumila Neumann ex Tausch.
Sorbus arbutifolia (L.) Heynh.
Sorbus densiflora (Spach) Heynh.
Sorbus depressa (Lindl.) Heynh.
Common Name: Red Chokeberry
Aronia arbutifolia is a suckering, deciduous shrub growing 80 - 250cm tall. The plant can form a clump of growth wth up to 20 stems or more[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a food. It is sometimes grown as an ornamental, and can be used as a hedge.
Eastern N. America - Ontario to Quebec and south to Texas and Florida
Swamps, wet thickets, peatland pocosins, bogs, fens, wet pine flatwoods, margins of freshwater wetlands, beaver ponds, mixed loblolly pine, Magnolia virginiana-Rhus vernix-swamps, black gum swamps; at elevations to 2,000 metres[
|Other Uses Rating||
|Pollinators||Bees, Insects, Apomictic
|Cultivation Status||Ornamental, Wild
Plants are hardy to about -25°c[
An easily grown plant, succeeding in most, medium, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. It prefers a moist peaty soil, but has a wide range of soil tolerance including boggy soils. It dislikes shallow soils over chalk[
]. Plants are tolerant of atmospheric pollution[
This genus is closely related to Sorbus species and has been shown to hybridize with them[
A suckering plant, it forms thickets in the wild[
Some named forms have been developed for their ornamental value[
Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus[
Fruit - raw or cooked[
]. The fruit can be cooked to make tasty jams and jellies[
]. It can also be dried and used for making pemmican[
]. Fruit quality is rather variable, it is often very astringent, acid and bitter, though some forms are rather pleasant when fully ripe, especially if they have experienced some frost[
]. The red to black fruit is usually 6 - 9mm in diameter[
], it can hang on the plant for several months[
The fruits of Aronia species are potentially a very healthful and tasty addition to the diet. Although many wild forms are less than pleasant to eat, various forms with superior fruits have been selected (or developed through selective breeding). These forms are often available from plant nurseries, and some are grown commercially on a wide scale for use in juices, to make jams, wines and as a flavouring for other drinks[
]. These cultivars are generally assigned to Aronia melanocarpa or Aronia mitschurinii, though it should be possible to select superior fruiting forms from any of the species[
Plants respond well to trimming and can be grown as a hedge[
Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in pots outdoors or in a cold frame[
]. Pre-soak stored seed overnight and then cold stratify for 3 months at 2°c[
]. The seed germinates in 1 - 3 months at 15°c[
]. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in a cold frame for their first winter. Plant out in late spring.
Cuttings of half-ripe wood, mid summer in a frame[
Division of suckers in the dormant season[
]. Very easy, they can be planted straight out into their permanent positions.