Chokeberries, The Poor Man’s Goji Berry
Author: Paul Masterson
Chokeberries, the poor man Goji berry. High in anti-oxidants, sour tasting hence the name but great in fruit juices, jams and wine.
Living in Ireland were the weather can be too damp to grow many of what we call ‘Super Foods’ I got excited when I heard about the Chokeberry. You see the Chokeberry is a hardy little plant that is trouble free to grow, yeh! It doesn’t have pests or diseases to contend with and the birds so far haven’t discovered them. They are probably too busy with the strawberries.
Last autumn (fall) I planted three experimental Chokeberry plants to see if they would produce any fruit.
I live in a rural location on the side of a hill, two miles from the sea. The house is called ‘Windy Acre’ for a self explaining reason. So it is a challenge to grow anything. I planted these plants in full sun with some protection from the cold Northerly winds under the Ash tree. The Ash stands at approximately 40’ high and does break the winds.
The plants survived the coldest winter on record for Ireland. We normally have mild winters, but last winter was the exception when temperatures plummeted to sub-zero during the day. When spring came I was glad to see them flowering. The flowers are multi-stemmed with white petals and are similar to brambles.
During flowering it is best to water these at least every day in a dry spell, although they are quite tolerant if not watered too often.
The Chokeberries are now producing fruit in multi-stemmed clusters. They are approximately 7mm in size with a bluish-black colour. If not picked, the fruit will remain on the plant until the winter.
Some propagation tips:
- Seeds should be stratified in moist peat for 3 months between 2c and 5c.
- Softwood cuttings taken in early summer root easily untreated. Use a rooting hormone.
- Division has also proved to be highly successful. Cutting suckers with a sharp spade and transplanting them throughout the garden will almost always work.
So if you want a low cost ‘Super Food’, do give the Chokeberry a try.
- Originally considered to be of little medicinal value, new research shows that Aronia melanocarpa has a high concentration of polyphenols and anthocyanins, stimulating circulation, protecting the urinary tract, and strengthening the heart.
- Ongoing studies at the University of Illinois also suggest that Aronia may include compounds that fight cancer and cardiac disease.
Paul writes for and owns www.bonsai.ie, a specialist web journal on Bonsai, Japanese Gardeantioxidant-fruits.comng and writing on the Tinytrees Garden.
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