Aronia melanocarpa, Aronia seeds, Chokeberry
Aronia Chokeberry seeds
Aronia melanocarpa belongs to the roses (Rosaceae) and is also known in everyday language as black chokeberry. The black chokeberry is native to North America. A botanist brought Aronia melanocarpa to Russia where it was cultivated in larger amounts. The Russians appreciated the black chokeberry as medical plant. Aronia melaocarpa came over the Ukraine and Czechia to Germany, where it was cultivated maily in the Eastern parts. Until today the black chokeberry is an important wild fruit.
Aronia melanocarpa grows as a shrub and reaches a height form 2 to 3 m. The buds of the leaves are reddish. The leaves are green and elliptic, getting only 6 cm long. Before falling off the tree the leaves change color to a beautiful red. In contrast to the black wood this red color is especially attractive.
The flowers of the black chokeberry are clustered in umbels. They are white, actinomorphic, and hermaphrodite. The flowers have purple stamens in the center.
The berries are small and black. They just reach 1.5 cm in diameter. Already the scientific name "melanocarpa" what means "having black fruits" gives a hint that the berries are black. The pulp is dark red. The berries were used to color food. Already the Indians collected the berries. They dried them to have them as winter stock. Due to the tannis the black chokeberry has a rough taste. For that rough taste the berries are often used to cook jam or to make smoothies. Who likes it sweeter should harvest the fruits after the last frost. After that they are a little sweeter and milder.
Further compounds of the black chokeberry are the so called antioxidants. They occur in higher concentrations in the berries and make Aronia melanocarpa an anti aging plant. The antioxidants are able to bind free radicals that are amongst others responsible for cells to degenerate. With other words the black chokeberry may delay cancer development. The berries are also attractive for birds that eat the fruits and disperse the seeds. And as a side effect the birds cheer up the garden.
The seeds of Aronia melanocarpa need to soak in water for 1 or 2 days before sowing. When the seeds have been brought into the substrate, the seeds in the substrate should be placed into the fridge at a temperature of about 4°C for 3 or 4 month. After that cold period, also called stratification, the seeds start germinating at a temperature of about 20 °C. Through the whole process the substrate should be kept moist. Aronia melanocarpa is cold hardy, tolerating temperatures down to minus 30 °C. Aronia melanocarpa is all in all a robust plant tolerating also strong wind and salty soil. Naturally it occurs at wet places like swamps, but Aronia melanocarpa can deal with dry soils as well.