The dark purple Aronia berry grows in heavy umbels on robust shrubs. The plant originally comes from North America and was already highly valued by the native inhabitants there. The berry reached Central Europe and Germany via Russia and Eastern Europe more than 100 years ago. Because the aronia contains so many important vital substances, it is gaining more and more fans as a native fruit.
What does Aronia look like?
The Aronia plant is a deciduous shrub up to 2 metres high with pointed, striking wine-red winter buds. The leaves are 2-8cm long, usually short, pointed, finely serrated with midrib black-red hairs on top. Only quite late – in May – does the aronia flower bloom with white flowers on umbels. This has the advantage that the aronia flowers are often spared during late spring frosts.
Until August, roundish, dark purple, almost black aronia berries 6-13 mm in size develop – about the size of cultivated blueberries. Depending on the variety, up to 30 small berries can hang from an umbel. When the berries are cut open, you can see a similarity to an apple with small seeds arranged symmetrically around the centre. The flesh is intensely red in colour and the darker the flesh, the riper the fruit. The full fruit ripeness is reached at the end of August/beginning of September. In autumn, the aronia shrubs delight with their bright red foliage. In winter, the aronia shrubs lose their leaves and overwinter in snow and frost of up to -35°C.
Anyone can have an Aronia in their own garden. Aronia can also be used as an ornamental in a potted plant for the balcony or terrace. The plant is quite undemanding as far as the soil is concerned though it doesn’t like too loamy or sandy soils. The more sunshine, the more fructose will be formed in the fruit.
Which Aronia varieties are there?
Through breeding, crossing and selection, various Aronia varieties have been developed, from the wild varieties of black fruited aronia (Aronia melanocarpa), plum-leaved aronia (Aronia prunifolia) and felty aronia (Aronia arbutifolia) for gardening and fruit growing. With their strong green leaves and well-branched shoots, the wild Aronia varieties do not grow as high as some cultivated varieties.
- Nero, Viking, Ahonnen from Finland
- Rubina, Hugin from Sweden
- Fertödi from Hungary
- Aron, Serina und Hakkija from Denmark
- Moravska sladkoploda from Slovakia
- Kashamachi und Mandschurica from Estonia