ARONIA

(Aronia melanocarpa) Not too common in standard nursery trade, black chokeberry is finally starting to get the recognition that it deserves.  Glossy, pendulous clusters of black fruit suspended before lustrous green leaves are pleasing when viewed up close in summer, but the flower display and fall color are excellent even from afar.  This shrub will tolerate anything thrown at it: swampy ground, dry sandy soil, drought, salt, and pollution.  It is probably pickiest about its light, tolerating partial shade but becoming more leggy.  Appearing only on the top 2/3s of the plant, the glossy bright green leaves are quite showy and emerge in April. Only 1-3" long, they are often clean from disease and pest problems, catching the sunlight quite nicely.  Unfortunately, they darken as the season progresses, hiding the dark fruit.  Black Chokeberries have a higher  anthocyanin content than Grape Seed Extract or Blueberries, which is due to a very large Cyanidin content.  Due to this large content of anthocyanins, Aronia appears to have a larger anti-oxidative potential than do Blueberries while still possessing much of the same molecules they do. Widely used in Europe as an ingredient in sports drinks. Considered one of the Super-Fruits, it has one of the highest recorded ORAC values.