Plant Spotlight – Black Chokeberry, Aronia melanocarpa
Black Chokeberry is a handsome, easy to grow shrub, with showy flowers in the spring, as well as large, edible berries in summer. It’s average mature size is 5-6′ tall, by 5-6′ wide, but it can occasionally grow larger. In mid-spring the plant is covered with an abundance of white flowers, which contrast beautifully with the deep green foliage, and attract pollinating insects. In late summer the flowers are followed by dark purple-black berries, that can be harvested for culinary or medicinal uses. Raw the berries are very sour and unpalatable, after being processed they are delicious, and a great source of vitamins. The berries have been used traditionally to make jam and wine, and are an antioxidant rich super-food that is gaining popularity in the health industry. Some notable selections are ‘Viking’, which produces a huge harvest of large berries, and ‘Autumn Magic’, which has stunning fall color.