The North American shrub known as chokeberry had an extreme makeover once its nutritional profile was discovered. High in vitamin C and antioxidants, it is being touted as the healthiest fruit in the world. This new “superfood” was rebranded as aronia (its scientific name), and it is now a common addition to juices and other health snacks.
Typically a bit too astringent to eat raw, hence the original name, the fruit can easily be used in jams, jellies and even wines. It can also be made into syrup and tea.
In the forest garden, it will attract beneficial insects, can withstand periods of drought, can be used as a windbreak and fruit-bearing hedge, and is strikingly beautiful most of the year.
Scientific name: Aronia melanocarpa
Purchase size: 2-3 ft, 2 yrs old
Plant hardiness zone: 3-8
Max height: 8-10 ft
Light: Full sun to part shade
Harvest: Fall, best after first frost