Unusual & Old Fashioned Fruit Trees
The Aronia is a member of the Rose Family and divides again into Prunifolia, Meloncarpa and Arbutifolia. Aronia are deciduous shrubs or small trees from North America that are all quite hardy and produce small, red or black berries.
Please Note;- There should be a word of caution here as it is said that the fruits of the Aronia can greatly lower blood pressure, dangerously so, in unhealthy people.
Aronia Prunifolia Karhumaki is commonly called the "Purple Chokeberry" and is very hardy as it will withstand temperatures down to -25 degrees Centigrade thus making it popular in Poland and the colder parts of China where it is used to to produce a jam like syrup for flavouring various commercially processed foods. Not many fruit trees will grow successfully in Finland because of the low temperatures, but because of Aronia's tollerance of low temperatures, research is being carried out there on the many varieties of Aronia, as a potential, harvestable, fruit crop. "Viking" is one such new variety that is sometimes available here in the UK.
Aronia Melancarpa or Black Chokeberry is a low growing, spreading shrub.
Aronia Arbutifolia (Red Chokeberry) is the ornamental part of this family of plants with it's colourful Autumn leaves. The red berries are much favoured by birds who find them quite appetising.
Propagation of Aronia seeds requires that they are stratified for some weeks before they will germinate and then they will not come true to type, so it best to increase your plants by removing rooted suckers from below soil level.
Apart from the fact that the berries will lower blood pressure, the plants do have other medicinal uses. One of the most significant is that properly introduced to a patient they will remove metals from the body such as with lead poisoning. There is also some potential for their use in treating cancer.