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The Wonderful Aronia plant !


By legion


Hello All,
I trust everyone is well and keeping safe? I’ve been so busy over the months in the garden, so I hope you enjoy my latest blog.

Aronia is largely an undiscovered gem of the plant world. Often called the Black Rowan or Chokeberry as well as erroneously Chokecherry, it is one of those plants that few people realise even exists as a fruit plant choice for the garden! Aronia as a plant comes from a very complex background which many botanists still find a moot point. Often generically called Aronia Melanocarpa, the black edible berry form is now thought to be a natural hybrid cross of this and Mountain Ash, so is referred to by some as A.Mitschurinii which is a separate species entirely. It also exists in a red berry form.

The fruit has 3x the antioxidant levels of blueberry and has been proven to reduce cancerous cell activity and reduce tumours. Aronia juice also inhibits nasty flu viruses. In essence Aronia boosts the body’s defences. Also taken over a period of time it reduces blood pressure(so much that it can be dangerous to take, if one suffers low blood pressure in the first place!), and helps manage the diabetic condition too, etc. The health benefits are exceptional and have been well researched. Just Google it and see!

I grow Aronia Nero which I acquired via a plant swap a decade ago. It crops very well, but took a couple of years before it started to flower. The flowers are beautiful and smell of vanilla in Spring followed by juicy blueberry sized blue/black fruits at the end of July. Nero’s fruits are 1 to 2.5g in size and very tasty when ripe, tasting like a fine wine with a hint of coffee. Many dislike Aronia due to its high tannin content, but in smoothies and yoghurts they taste quite delicious. In pies it is ideal.

The commonly sold cultivar is Viking, but that ripens mid August and is a much bigger plant reaching well over 2.5 metres. Nero tops out to about 1.5 metre and as wide. Viking has smaller fruits which I find quite bitter and not as flavoursome. Both cultivars are capable of producing over 25 pounds or more of fruit per plant each season and are a commercially important crop in many countries such as America and Russia.

Aronia Nero and Viking cultivars are genetically identical and any seeds gathered are always true to type. However, growing from seed is a long and arduous process to get to the fruiting process and can take many years, so it is always best to purchase a plant of over 2 years old which will fruit the following year. Plants are sometimes available online or you may be lucky enough to get one locally.

So have a go and grow one of these magnificent plants, if not for the highly ornamental, attractive foliage which turns red in Autumn. You won’t regret it!

More blog posts by legion

Previous post: The resilient blackberry Merton Thornless & other nice things!



Legion I'm fairly sure I had this in my previous garden but didn't know you could eat the berries ,thanks for the information ...

2 Aug, 2020


I like you had absolutely no idea that the fruit was edible. I was given a generic Aronia plant many years ago. Wilkos used to sell them for a quid each, but I've not seen them since then. The fruit was small and bitter, but the flowers were pretty. I eventually gave it away when I needed the space.

I then read of edible cultivars and acquired the Nero plant. I'd tasted the Viking cultivar at a garden show and it was awful like having a mouthful of acrid coffee powder. The Nero berry is actually quite pleasant when ripe and juicy unlike the Viking, but it is all down to personal preference. Cultivar Hugin is said to be much sweeter than both. Aronia is great as a jelly for meat or fish dishes. Makes a great wine too!

2 Aug, 2020


Very informative and interesting blog, Legion. I think we may have this on our big bund hill...there are many shrubs and trees up there planted by the house builders initially as well as our planted shrubs over the years. I’ll have to double check. Thank you for the detailed facts.

2 Aug, 2020


As a berry lover I found this most interesting.Thanks for the info!

2 Aug, 2020


Glad it is of interest. Thankyou.☺

2 Aug, 2020


Legion I knew mine was called a Chokeberry I think it was the thought of choking on it that put me off trying to eat it .

2 Aug, 2020


It is often generally referred to as Chokeberry, because of the bitter taste due to a high tannin content. This in my experience is quite unfair as the bad taste is largely due to eating an underripe berry. The ripe black fruit is still strong, but more near the taste of a fruity wine.

Nowhere near the taste of eating a raw lemon. Aronia fruits must be eaten when a dull black not a purple black, then they are palatable and pleasantly sweet/bitter. You may have the red fruited form of Chokeberry, Aronia Arbutifolia and that is inedible. For the birds only!

2 Aug, 2020


An interesting blog, Legion, tho' I don't have the space for one in my garden. Would like to try the fruit one day.

5 Aug, 2020


Aronia's great for the landscape Feverfew, as its fibrous roots help keep a bad patch of ground from eroding or getting worse. It grows anywhere, even in soil which has some salt content. In a small container it shouldn't get any bigger than a couple of feet as it's a relatively slow grower like a blueberry and pruning is never needed on the whole.

There's a few newer cultivars developed for this tub culture. One daftly called Professor Ed and another Low Scape Mound. Low Scape Hedger is one too. They have been developed in the U.S to be low growing. Will most likely hit specialised U.K nurseries in the next few years, but in the meantime commercial edible types: Viking and Nero, Hugin(at T & M nursery) are available. Amazon is touch and go(sells seeds mostly!), but in the Winter months you could pick a reasonably cheap Nero or Viking plant up for under a tenner from a few sellers.☺

5 Aug, 2020


I'm glad you spotted Karen's blog Legion .... ..

5 Aug, 2020


A great blog from a few years back and the pictures were truly splendid. Oh that jam!

6 Aug, 2020

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