Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Discover: Chokeberries

  • The chokeberries (Aronia) are two to three species of deciduous shrubs in the family Rosaceae, native to eastern North America. 
  • They are most commonly found in wet woods and swamps. 
  • Chokeberries are cultivated as ornamental plants and also because they are very high in antioxidant pigment compounds, like anthocyanins. 
  • The name "chokeberry" comes from the astringency of the fruits which are inedible when raw. 
  • The berries can be used to make wine, jam, syrup, juice, soft spreads, tea and tinctures. 
  • The fruits are eaten by birds (birds do not taste astringency and feed on them readily), which then disperse the seeds in their droppings. 
  • The chokeberries are often mistakenly called chokecherries, which is the common name for Prunus virginiana. 
  • Further adding to the ambiguity, there is a cultivar of Prunus virginiana named 'Melanocarpa' , easily confused with Aronia melanocarpa. 
  • Chokecherries are also high in antioxidant pigment compounds, like anthocyanins, further contributing to confusion. In fact, the two plants are only distantly related within the Rosaceae.

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