Varieties

The aronia belongs to the Rosaceae family, which includes lots of varieties. The best-known types are the Aronia arbutifolia and the Aronia melanocarpa. These wild varieties usually produce smaller berries that contain more tannic acid and tannins.

Various aronia cultivars have been developed through selective breeding. These tend to yield larger berries that contain less tannic acid and have a much milder taste. These cultivars include all the varieties of the Aronia melanocarpa that have been crossed with other varieties (e.g. Viking, Hugin and Nero).

Aronia arbutifolia
Aronia melanocarpa
Aronia melanocarpa (“Viking”)
Aronia melanocarpa (“Rubina”)
Aronia melanocarpa (“Aron”)
Aronia x prunifolia
Aronia x prunifolia (“Hugin”)
Aronia melanocarpa x arbutifolia (“Nero”)
“Nero Superberry”
Aronia arbutifolia

The name of the species arbutifolia means “like the leaves of the strawberry tree”. It comes from North America, where it’s known as “red chokeberry”. In some parts of Germany, it’s also known as the “bald chokeberry”, “felt chokeberry”, “red chokeberry” and “dwarf rowan berry”. However, it’s not related to the conventional rowan berry.

The Aronia arbutifolia is also referred to by its scientific name Aronia arbutifolia (L.) Pers.

It has hairy leaves and red fruits on the underside. The upper surface of the leaf is glossy. Its red autumnal colouring is a sight to behold.

The plant is a small, upright bush measuring 0.90 – 1.20 metres in height with multiple shoots. It grows relatively slowly and is easy to care for. The plant can easily withstand frost.

Aronia arbutifolia can be cultivated on its own, in groups, as an ornamental plant, and in front gardens and rockeries. It’s also often used as a hedge. It provides nutrients for little animals and is also popularly used as a bee pasture.

As a wild plant, it can be found in North America and Canada in calcium-rich wetlands like marshes, moor lakes, meadows, fields, swamps and forests.

In May, the dwarf rowan tree produces white flowers that grow into small umbels, and these develop into edible red berries with a slightly bitter taste in August. These measure 6 – 8 mm on average, making them slightly smaller than the black berries of the Aronia melanocarpa. The black fruit varieties also yield a richer harvest.

The seeds ripen from October to December.

The berries are very popular in the kitchen. They can be made into jam, cakes, pastries, juice, wine and liqueur, and they can even be eaten raw or as dried fruit.

You can find more information in our aronia recipes.

You can find more information in our aronia recipes.

Aronia arbutifolia – plant profile

  • Growth: upright bush with good branching
  • Height: 0.90 – 1.20 metres
  • Width: 1.00 metre
  • Foliage: leaves like the strawberry tree; underside of the leaves is hairy; reddish orange hue in autumn
  • Flowers: in May, white umbels with around 1 – 7 flowers
  • Yield: purple edible fruits
  • Harvest season: late September to mid-October
  • Location: sunny
  • Soil: no specific requirements
  • Care: low maintenance, highly resistant
  • Hardiness: hardy
  • Peculiarity: red berries don’t offer as many health benefits as the black fruit varieties
  • Planting period: September to April
  • Use: individual or group plant, fruit tree, ornamental plant, bee pasture
Aronia melanocarpa

The Aronia melanocarpa is also known as the “black chokeberry”. The name of the species melanocarpa means “bearing black fruits”. It’s a species of the Aronia (Photinia) genus. The plant comes from North America.

Aronia melanocarpa grows in the wild as a bush with outstretched branches that can grow up to 1.50 metres in height. It can be planted from late September to mid-December at the latest (before the first ground frost). It has no specific soil requirements and grows best in sunny to semi-shaded spots. It grows well on slopes, in the mountains and along rivers. Its planting distance is around 1 m. This wild variety can be used really well as a hedge or row of trees around a property.

The plant only flowers once its leaves have sprouted. During this ten-day flowering period, the aronia produces beautiful bright white umbels that can hold up to 15 individual flowers. The flowers are mainly pollinated by bees but also by the wind. As such, the Aronia melanocarpa can also be used as a bee pasture.

The leaves have a leathery feel. They’re long and pointy with a finely jagged edge. Young leaves and summer shoots have hairs on their underside. The buds and fruits are hairless.

The flowers give way to round fruits with a purplish black hue. These look very similar to the fruits of the rowan tree. The aronia berries are ripe by August. Ripe berries have a diameter of 6 – 12 mm, and they can weigh between 0.5 – 1.5 g. The deep red flesh of the berries has a sour and slightly bitter taste. The riper the berries get, the darker their flesh.

You can find more information in our aronia recipes.

Aronia melanocarpa – plant profile:

  • Growth: upright bush with good branching
  • Height: 1.50 – 2.00 metres
  • Width: 1.00 – 1.50 metres
  • Foliage: oval-round leaves with a jagged edge and a reddish orange hue in autumn
  • Flowers: white umbels with around 1 – 15 flowers
  • Yield: edible fruits with intense flavour; bluish purple to black in colour; suitable for immediate consumption and processing
  • Harvest season: late August to early October
  • Location: sunny to semi-shaded
  • Soil: no specific requirements, soil cannot be too wet or dry
  • Care: low maintenance, highly resistant
  • Hardiness: frost-resistant up to -30°C
  • Peculiarity: fruit tree
  • Planting period: late September to May
  • Use: individual or group plant, natural hedge
Aronia melanocarpa (“Viking”)

The “Viking” chokeberry is a cultivated breed from Finland.

The plant can reach around 1.50 – 2.50 metres in height. It’s really easy to care for and has no specific soil requirements, but it likes to grow in a sunny to semi-shaded spot.

The “Viking” sprouts loose white umbels in May. Each umbel holds around 10 – 20 flowers at the end of a sprout. These produce large round fruits that are black and glossy but not as aromatic as the wild variety. The fruit weighs around 1.5 g. They get rather heavy and often start to overhang during their harvest period from late August to early September.

This plant produces a similar yield to the “Nero” variety, but its fruits are somewhat smaller.

The fresh berries are good for making jam and jelly, and the “Viking” variety is also a suitable baking ingredient.

You can find more suggestions in our aronia recipes.

Aronia melanocarpa (“Viking”) – plant profile:

  • Growth: upright bush with slightly overhanging branches
  • Height: 1.50 – 2.00 metres
  • Foliage: dark green, egg-shaped leaves with reddish orange hue in autumn
  • Flowers: white panicles
  • Yield: edible fruits
  • Harvest season: August to September
  • Location: sunny to semi-shaded
  • Soil: no specific requirements
  • Hardiness: very good
  • Peculiarity: fruit tree, wild bush
  • Use: individual or group plant, natural hedge, potted plant
Aronia melanocarpa (“Rubina”)

The Aronia melanocarpa “Rubina” is created by crossing the Finnish “Viking” with a Russian variety. This Hungarian cultivation has been protected since 1994.

It’s highly resistant to frost and can withstand heavy rainfall. It yields more fruit when grown in a sunny location. Each berry tends to weigh between 1.2 – 1.8 g.

The bush can reach a height of 1.50 – 1.80 m. Its fruit ripens before the “Nero” variety in early autumn. Its leaves are also rich in anthocyanins.

The plant should be regularly cut back.

You can find more suggestions in our aronia recipes.

Aronia melanocarpa (“Rubina”) – plant profile:

  • Height: 1.50 – 1.80 metres
  • Foliage: dark green, egg-shaped leaves with reddish orange hue in autumn
  • Flowers: white umbels
  • Yield: edible fruits, approx. 1.2 – 1.8 g
  • Harvest season: mid-August to mid-September
  • Location: sunny to semi-shaded
  • Soil: no requirements
  • Care: low maintenance, resistant to heavy rainfall
  • Hardiness: frost-resistant
  • Peculiarity: fruit tree, wild bush
  • Use: individual or group plant, natural hedge, potted plant
Aronia melanocarpa (“Aron”)

The Aronia “Aron” is a cultivated plant from Denmark. It’s highly frost resistant and robust, and its umbels are full of berries during the harvest period.

The plant can withstand wind and even salty air, making it really easy to care for. It doesn’t grow well in soils that are too humid.

The plant can grow up to 1.50 m in height and has ample branching. It can measure up to 1.00 – 1.50 m in width.

The plant sprouts reddish brown leaves around mid-April. White umbels form after two to three weeks, and these create a nice contrast to the leaves. The plant develops a beautiful reddish hue in the autumn, starting in mid-September. The bushes have to be cut back during the first few years.

The chokeberry can be eaten from mid-August onwards. The black berries on the umbels can measure up to 1 cm – they’re really tasty and versatile.

You can find more suggestions in our aronia recipes.

Aronia melanocarpa (“Aron”) – plant profile:

  • Growth: upright bush with slightly overhanging branches
  • Height: up to 1.50 metres
  • Width: 1.00 – 1.50 metres
  • Foliage: dark green, egg-shaped leaves with reddish orange hue in autumn
  • Flowers: white umbels
  • Yield: edible fruits with a diameter of approx. 1 cm; tasty and versatile
  • Harvest season: mid-August to September
  • Location: sunny to semi-shaded
  • Soil: can’t be too moist; otherwise no requirements
  • Care: low maintenance; resistant to wind and salty air; cut back in the first years
  • Hardiness: frost-resistant
  • Peculiarity: fruit tree, wild bush
  • Use: individual or group plant, natural hedge, potted plant
Aronia x prunifolia

The Aronia x prunifolia hybrid was cultivated by crossing the wild varieties of Aronia melanocarpa and Aronia arbutifolia. It’s also known as the “purple chokeberry”.

This deciduous variety grows into a wide, loose bush with good branching. It can grow to 1.00 – 2.00 metres in height.

Its shallow roots don’t form many suckers. This low-maintenance plant grows well in sunny locations and thrives in humid soil.

Its broadly elliptical leaves are dark green and develop a fiery red colour in the autumn.

Its purplish black fruits ripen from September to October. They ripen up to 2 weeks later than other varieties and stay hanging for longer. If there’s no frost, the fruits of the bush can be eaten until November. The edible berries grow to 6 – 8 mm. They’re very juicy and characterised by their slightly bitter and sour taste.

The berries can be used for cooking and baking, or to make juice, wine, liqueur and dye. You can find more suggestions in our aronia recipes.

This variety was introduced to Germany in the 1970s, where it started to be grown on plantations in Bautzen in 1976. It sometimes produced a 30% greater yield than the original species.

In 2002, the Aronia x prunifolia was added to the fruit gene bank in Dresden-Pillnitz.

Aronia x prunifolia – plant profile:

  • Growth: upright bush with slightly overhanging branches
  • Height: 1.00 – 2.00 metres
  • Width: 1.50 metres
  • Foliage: dark green, egg-shaped leaves with a jagged edge and a reddish orange hue in autumn
  • Flowers: white umbels
  • Yield: edible fruits, 5 – 10 fruits per umbel
  • Harvest season: mid-September to October
  • Location: sunny
  • Soil: no requirements, moist
  • Care: low maintenance; cut back in the first years
  • Hardiness: frost-resistant
  • Peculiarity: fruit tree, wild bush
  • Use: individual plant, (ornamental) potted plant
Aronia x prunifolia (“Hugin”)

This aronia variety was cultivated in Sweden, combining the features of the Aronia melanocarpa and Aronia x prunifolia.

Its fruit is slightly smaller and takes longer to ripen. It grows in small umbels containing 2 – 5 fruits. If there’s no frost, the fruit can hang from the bush until November.

This variety produces high yields but just a little less fruit than the well-known “Aron”, “Nero” and “Viking” varieties. It contains fewer tannins than its relatives, giving it a slightly more pleasant taste.

You can find more suggestions in our aronia recipes.

Its oval leaves have pointy jagged edges and a felt-like surface underneath.

This ornamental plant is suitable for small gardens and can also be grown in a pot. It’s completely frost-resistant and incredibly easy to care for. It grows to around 0.80 – 1.30 m in height and doesn’t require much space. It can measure up to around 1.00 m in width.

The plant reproduces through its seeds.

Aronia x prunifolia (“Hugin”) – plant profile:

  • Height: 1.00 – 1.30 metres
  • Width: 1.00 metres
  • Foliage: egg-shaped leaves with a jagged edge and a reddish orange hue in autumn
  • Flowers: white flowers, hardly any umbels (2 – 5 flowers per umbel)
  • Yield: plum-coloured edible fruits
  • Harvest season: September to October
  • Location: sunny or semi-shaded
  • Soil: no specific requirements
  • Care: low maintenance
  • Hardiness: frost-resistant
  • Peculiarity: fruit tree, wild bush
  • Use: Ornamental plant, potted plant
Aronia melanocarpa x arbutifolia (“Nero”)

The “Nero” chokeberry belongs to the Aronia prunifolia variety, a hybrid of the Aronia arbutifolia and Aronia melanocarpa species. This sweet chokeberry is considered the classic aronia bush and comes from North America. It was cultivated in Russia, and it’s the most popular variety with the highest yields in Germany and Poland.

The plant is characterised by its umbels of white flowers that emerge in mid-May and its wonderful red colouring in autumn. Each umbel can hold up to 20 relatively large fruits. These are cherished as the tastiest of the aronia berries. They ripen in late August to early September.

Its oval leaves have a jagged edge.

Aronia melanocarpa x arbutifolia (“Nero”) – plant profile:

  • Growth: upright bush with good branching
  • Height: 1.50 – 2.50 metres
  • Width: 1.00 – 1.50 metres
  • Foliage: egg-shaped leaves with a jagged edge and a reddish orange hue in autumn
  • Flowers: white umbels with around 20 flowers
  • Yield: large edible fruits with aromatic flavour; bluish purple to black in colour; suitable for immediate consumption and processing
  • Harvest season: late August to mid-September
  • Location: sunny to semi-shaded
  • Soil: no specific requirements
  • Care: no requirements, resistant to heavy rainfall
  • Hardiness: frost-resistant up to -30°C
  • Peculiarity: fruit tree
  • Planting period: late September to mid-December, or mid-March to May
  • Minimum distance of 80 cm between hedges and 1.50 m between individual plants
  • Use: individual or group plant, natural hedge, potted plant
“Nero Superberry”

The “Nero Superberry” has been specially cultivated for fruit production. This plant produces very high yields and can easily withstand adverse weather conditions and pests, making it really easy to care for.

The following characteristics set the “Nero Superberry” apart from all other aronia varieties:

  • Enhanced heat and frost resistance
  • Resistance to fungal and bacterial pathogens
  • Greater resistance to pests and diseases
  • Frost resistant up to -30°C
  • No care requirements
  • The plant grows steadily and evenly, meaning less cutting is required
  • Its maximum height is 2.50 metres
  • This variety produces a greater yield and its fruit is bigger than the average aronia berry
  • It’s ideal for amateur gardeners and cultivation

Its aromatic berries are rich in vitamins and suitable for immediate consumption. It can be enjoyed raw or used to make jam, cakes, pastries, juice, wine, liqueur and dye.

You can find more information in our aronia recipes.

Nero Superberry – plant profile:

  • Growth: even, upright and loose with good branching
  • Height: 1.50 – 2.50 metres
  • Width: 1.50 metres
  • Foliage: egg-shaped leaves with a jagged edge and a reddish orange hue in autumn
  • Flowers: white umbels with around 30 flowers
  • Yield: large edible fruits with aromatic flavour; bluish purple to black in colour; suitable for immediate consumption; fruits are larger and juicier than other aronia wild and ornamental varieties. Up to 30 berries per umbel
  • Harvest season: late August to mid-September, very high yield
  • Location: sunny to semi-shaded
  • Soil: no specific requirements
  • Care: very low maintenance, resistant to weather and pests
  • Hardiness: frost-resistant up to -30°C
  • Peculiarity: fruit tree, cultivated plant
  • Use: individual or group plant, ornamental plant, garden, hedge, wild fruit, bee pasture, dye plant, bird food
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