Chokeberry (Aronia)

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  1.   1.  Description
    1.   1.1  Types
    2.   1.2  Growth
    3.   1.3  Obtainment
  2.   2.  Uses
    1.   2.1  Toxicity
  3.   3.  More
  4.   4.  'Souls
Common Name Chokeberry
Latin Name Aronia (genus)
Icon(s) Blue berries (general icon) Purple berries (general icon) Red berries (general icon)
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Red Chokeberries
via Wikimedia Commons
Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5

1.  Description

The leaves are alternate, simple, and oblanceolate with crenate margins and pinnate venation; in autumn the leaves turn a bold red color. Dark trichomes are present on the upper midrib surface. The flowers are small, with 5 petals and 5 sepals, and produced in corymbs of 10-25 together. Hypanthium is urn-shaped. The fruit is a small pome, with a very astringent flavor.

1.1  Types

In eastern North America, there are two well-known species, named after their fruit color, red chokeberry and black chokeberry, plus a purple chokeberry whose origin is a natural hybrid of the two.

  • Black chokeberry (Aronia melanocarpa) tends to be smaller, rarely exceeding 1m tall, rarely 3 m, and spreads readily by root sprouts. The leaves are smaller, not more than 6-cm wide, with terminal glands on leaf teeth and a glabrous underside. The flowers are white, 1.5 cm wide, with glabrous sepals. The fruit is black, 6–9mm wide, not persisting into winter.
  • Red chokeberry (Aronia arbutifolia) grows to 2–4m tall, rarely up to 6 m. Leaves are 5–8 cm wide and densely pubescent on the underside. The flowers are white or pale pink, 1 cm wide, with glandular sepals. The fruit is red, 4–10mm wide, persisting into winter.
  • Purple chokeberry (Aronia prunifolia): originated as a hybrid of the black and red chokeberries but might be more accurately considered a distinct species than a hybrid[11] (see also nothospecies). Leaves are moderately pubescent on the underside. Few to no glands are present on the sepal surface. The fruit is dark purple to black, 7–10mm in width, not persisting into winter. The range of the purple chokeberry is roughly that of the black chokeberry; it is found in areas (such as Michigan and Missouri) where the red chokeberry is not.[13]

1.2  Growth

They are naturally understory and woodland edge plants.

1.3  Obtainment

Common -- native, often cultivated and used in the times of humanity.

2.  Uses

  • This raw berry has a bitter or sour taste, but the taste can be improved by cooking or boiling the berry.
  • Juice from these berries is astringent and not sweet, but high in vitamin C and antioxidants. The berries can be used to make wine, jam, syrup, juice, soft spreads, and tea.
  • The red chokeberry's fruit is more palatable and can be eaten raw. It has a sweeter flavor than the black species and is used to make jam or pemmican.

2.1  Toxicity

  • The seeds contain a mineral which breaks down into cyanide when ingested!

3.  More

4.  'Souls

  • Hey, did your character do something cool with this plant?
  • Or maybe your pack has it for trade?

Categories: Flora | Resources