Thursday, September 15, 2011

Chokeberry

Aronia
A small genus of shrubs consisting of 2 species and a natural hybrid that is native to eastern North America. The genus Aronia is part of the much larger Rose family.
The Vitamin C and pectin rich fruits which are available over a long season during summer contain cyanogenic glycosides and cannot be eaten raw. When cooked and sweetened, they are great for pies and sauces. Really good smoothies can be made out of them too. The berries also make these great plants for attracting birds to the garden during winter.
Chokeberries prefer woodland conditions and thrive in full sun or partial shade on moist, deep, fertile, acidic to neutral, well drained soils. Tolerant of both wet soil and drought, salt and pollution. It does not do well on shallow soil with a high PH, otherwise very easy to grow. They are easy to transplant during the dormant season but new plants should have chicken wire or some other protection from rabbits for the first 2 years. It is rarely seriously bothered by pests or disease though slugs can sometimes damage the foliage.
Propagation is from softwood or semi-ripe cuttings ( easily done ) during summer or seed which germinates easily after sown in autumn or stratified for 3 months at 35 F. Other propagation options are detached suckers ( as long as some root is present ) and division.

* photo taken on July 11 2014 in Washington, DC


Aronia arbutifolia ( Red Chokeberry )
A medium-sized, strongly upright ( arching with age ), deciduous shrub, native to wet woods and swamps in eastern North America ( from Arkansas to northern Ohio to the Niagara region to New England; south to eastern Texas to central Florida ). It occurred sporadically at Detroit, Michigan and on the Ohio shore during the 1800s though is now extinct at Detroit in the wild. Some records include: fastest recorded growth rate - 4 feet; 10 years - 10 x 5 ( avg ) feet; largest on record - 21 x 10 feet with a trunk diameter of 1.7 inches.
The finely-toothed, obovate leaves, up to 4 x 2 inches, are glossy deep green above, downy gray-green beneath. The foliage turns intense orange and red during autumn.
The small, white to very pale pink ( with red anthers ) flowers, up to 0.3 inches, are borne in corymbs up to 3 inches wide, during mid-spring. The flowers last up to 3 weeks.
The showy, glossy scarlet-red berries, up to 0.28 inches across, are borne in dense clusters along the stems, ripen during autumn and often persist through winter.
The attractive winter bark is red-brown.
Hardy zones 2 to 9 in full sun to partial shade on moist to wet but preferrably well drained soil. Tolerant of drier sites than it occurs on in the wild.

* photo taken on Aug 21 2011 @ Brookside Gardens, Wheaton, MD

* photo taken on Apr 17 2016 @ U.S. National Arboretum, DC

* USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database

* historic archive photo

* photo taken on Apr 23 2017 @ Brookside Gardens, Wheaton, MD

* historic archive photo


'Brilliantissima'
Glossy deep green leaves turn to intense scarlet-red during autumn.
The scarlet-red berries are borne very profusely and are larger than the species.

* photos taken on Oct 17 2013 in Olney, MD

* photo taken @ U.S. Botanical Garden, Wash., DC on Aug 25 2014

* photo taken on Oct 21 2014 @ U.S. Botanical Gardens, Washington, DC

* photos taken on Oct 21 2014 @ Smithsonian Inst., Washington, DC

* photos taken on Nov 10 2014 in Columbia, MD

* photo taken on Apr 27 2015 in Columbia, MD

* photo taken on Nov 14 2016 in Columbia, MD

* photo taken by Milan Havlis ( havlis.cz )


'Erecta'
Very upright and narrow in habit; making an excellent screen. It is otherwise identical to the species.

'Macrophylla'
Larger leaves, up to 5 inches in length.

Aronia melanocarpa ( Black Chokeberry )
A suckering, bushy, small to mid-sized, deciduous shrub, that is native to wet woodlands and swamps in eastern North America ( from Lake of the Woods, Ontario to Ignace, Ontario to Thunder Bay, Ontario to Hearst, Ontario to Cochrane, Ontario to Newfoundland; south to Arkansas to Tennessee to Georgia to Virginia ). In the Windsor/Essex County, Ontario region; it was abundant around Windsor as well as on the Ohio shore during the 1800s. It also occurred sporadically at Detroit during that time. Some records include: 2 years - 5 feet; 5 years - 5 x 6 feet; largest on record - 12 x 16 ( usually less than half that ) feet. The Black Chokeberry is a very attractive landscape plant or hedge. Interestingly far outside its native range in eastern Europe, it is commonly grown. Only now it is gaining appreciation in North America.
The oval or obovate leaves, up to 3 inches in length, are glossy deep green above, smooth pale green beneath. The foliage turns fiery red during autumn, making it a great substitute to the overused non-native Burningbush Euonymus.
The small, white to very pale pink ( with red anthers ) flowers, up to 0.3 inches, are borne in corymbs during late spring.
The berries, up to 0.4 inches across, are black and glossy. They ripen during autumn but are not persistent.
Self pollinating, the Black Chokeberry may bear up to 10+ pounds ( record is 60 pounds ) of berries per year on a plant!!! They can be eaten fresh or also made into tasty nutritious juices and preserves. The juice is an excellent cranberry juice alternative.
Hardy zones 3 to 8 tolerating as low as -40 F and thrives in son or shade. Seed source from north of Lake Superior in Ontario is probably hardy to zone 2. It is more drought tolerant than Aronia arbutifolia but is also flood tolerant. Plants have been forced to grow 5 feet in just 3 months in greenhouses with 15 hours of light daily.

* photos taken on July 25 2015 @ Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario


'Autumn Magic'
Foliage turns intense deep red in autumn. The larger berries are black but are not persistent.

* photo of unknown internet source

* photo taken by Milan Havlis ( havlis.cz )

* photos taken on Oct 21 2014 @ U.S. Botanical Gardens, Washington, DC


'Brilliant'
Glowing scarlet fall color.

'Elata'
More vigorous, reaching up to 10 x 10 feet, with larger leaves and fruit.

* photo taken @ U.S. Botanical Garden, Wash., DC on Aug 25 2014


var floribunda

* photo taken @ U.S. Botanical Garden, Wash., DC on Aug 25 2014


'Grandiflora'
Large berries, up to 0.5 inches across, borne on clusters up to 6 inches.

'Nero'
Attractive shiny foliage with very showy fall color and very abundant, larger berries; it is otherwise identical to the species.

'Viking'
Very glossy deep green leaves with excellent red fall color. It is earlier blooming than average and the large attractive black berries last until March.

* photos taken on Sep 15 2011 in Columbia, MD













* photo taken @ U.S. Botanical Garden, Wash., DC on Aug 25 2014


Aronia x prunifolia ( Purple Chokeberry )
The natural hybrid between Aronia arbutifolia & A. melanocarpa; it is most similar to Aronia arbutifolia and has foliage that is downy at first.
It is a large shrub reaching up to 13 x 8 feet; it can also be trained as a small tree. Some records include: largest on record - 17 feet with a trunk diameter of 5 inches.
The foliage turns to scarlet-red in autumn.
The flowers, up to 0.5 inches across, are white.
The purple berries, up to 0.4 inches across, are persistent.
Hardy zones 3 to 7

* photos taken on May 7 2014 @ London Town Gardens, Edgewater, MD

* photo taken @ U.S. Botanical Garden, Wash., DC on Aug 25 2014

* photo taken on Oct 21 2014 @ U.S. Botanical Gardens, Washington, DC


'Hugin'
Originating in Scandinavia, it is of compact habit and has exceptionally large black fruits that persist until spring. The abundant flowers are showy and white.
The foliage turns intense red in fall.

'Iroquois Beauty'
Intense red fall foliage contrasts nicely with the black berries which are the most profuse of any cultivar.

No comments:

Post a Comment