Aronia melanocarpa ‘Viking’
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Aronia melanocarpa, commonly called black chokeberry, is an open, upright, spreading, somewhat rounded but leggy, suckering, deciduous shrub that typically grows 3-6’ tall. It is native to low woods, swamps, bogs and moist thickets but occasionally to dry upland areas. ‘Viking’ is an upright, multi-stemmed deciduous shrub that was developed in Europe as an orchard plant. It has glossy elliptic to obovate dark green leaves (to 2-3” long) with finely toothed margins. The leaves turn an attractive red in fall. In spring, slightly earlier than the species, it has 5 to 6-flowered clusters of white 5-petaled, fragrant flowers that mature into purplish black edible berries that ripen in late summer. The berries are high in nutrients and can be used for juice, pies and jellies or to provide food for birds and other wildlife.
The common name of chokeberry is in reference to the tart and bitter taste of the fruits which are technically edible but so astringent as to cause choking in most of those who try. Fruits are sometimes used to make tasty jams and jellies.