Aronia × prunifolia
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 atropurpurea (Britton) Nieuwl.
Aronia arbutifolia atropurpurea (Britton) C.K.Schneid.
Aronia atropurpurea Britton
Aronia floribunda (Lindl.) Sweet
Crataegus arbutifolia Lam.
Mespilus × prunifolia Marshall
Mespilus amelanchier prunifolia (Marshall) Castigl.
Pyrus × floribunda Lindl.
Pyrus arbutifolia × melanocarpa typica (C.K.Schneid.) Asch. & Graebn.
Pyrus arbutifolia atropurpurea (Britton) B.L.Rob.
Pyrus arbutifolia pubescens E.L.Rand & Redfield
Pyrus atropurpurea (Britton) L.H.Bailey
Pyrus melanocarpa atropurpurea (Britton) Farw.
Sorbus × floribunda (Lindl.) Heynh.
Sorbus arbutifolia atropurpurea (Britton) C.K.Schneid.
Common Name: Purple Chokeberry
Aronia × prunifolia is a deciduous shrub growing 80 - 350cm tall. The plant suckers, forming in time a clump of 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 - Ontaria to newfoundland, south to Florida.
|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[
This genus is closely related to Sorbus species and has been shown to hybridize with them[
A slow-growing plant[
Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus[
This species is a naturally occurring hybrid between Aronia arbutifolia and Aronia melanocarpa. It is fully self-compatible and has been able to spread beyond the range limits of at least one of its putative parents.[200 270].
Fruit - dried and used for making pemmican. The fruit is about 8mm in diameter[
]. 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 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 arbutifolia or Aronia mitschurinii, though it should be possible to select superior fruiting forms from any of the species[
The plant can be used as a hedge, responding well to trimming[
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. Although this species is of hybrid origin, it has been shown to breed true from seed[
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.