Everything you need to know about the aronia berry

The legendary aronia berry belongs to the botanical family of the rosaceae. Though its fruit are called berries, their insides look more like stone fruit (such as apples). Thus, they are also often called “apple berries” [Apfelbeeren for German audiences] or chokeberries. The bluish-black berry contains valuable nutrients such as vitamins and minerals.

What are the types of aronia?

There are only three types of aronia in the entire world. They are differentiated by the color of their fruit (black or red aronia), or by the shape of their leaves (plum-leaf aronia). In Germany, the black aronia (aronia melanocarpa) is the most commonly grown. Nero, Viking, and Aron are the best-known varieties of this sort.

Everything important at a glance: The chokeberry

What makes the chokeberry bush so special? And what is her favorite place to grow? Discover the „Aronia“ bush and learn more about the fascinating plant.

What does the plant look like?

The small, 0.5-1.2 cm aronia berries grow on bushes that are as tall as 2 to 3 meters and are often used as hedges. The colorful blossoms and leaves are attractive year-round: the bushes are brilliant white during the May blooms, dense green during the summer, and an intense red during the fall. Since the shrub has proven extremely resistant to pests, it often flourishes without any special chemical treatments.

Where does aronia come from, and how does it spread?

The edible fruit, which has a tart acidulous taste, originates in North America where wild varieties grow on the east coast and in parts of Canada. Various groups of Native Americans used the dried fruits and leaves of the aronia plant to make tea, small cakes, or a sort of “energy bar.”

Multiple accounts suggest that the aronia plant spread to eastern Europe via Russia in the 19th century. Though we are unsure precisely how this happened, there are early 19th-century descriptions of the plant that are very similar to the wild form of the shrub.

We are certain, however, that aronia berries emerged in Russia around 1900, and spread to central Europe by the mid 1950s. Since the early 1970s, they have been cultivated on large farms in Saxony, and later have also gained recognition in southern Germany, Switzerland, and Austria.