Transformational Gardening

Disclaimer: Foraging can be fun, rewarding and provide health benefits. As a novice forager, I will be sharing my foraging experiences. However, in order to be safe, always consult with local foraging experts and guidebooks before beginning foraging. Children should learn to forage safely by being guided by experienced adults. Never ingest anything unless you are certain of the identification and safety of the plant. Some plant species are inedible and some are poisonous.

Purple Chokeberry (Aronia prunifolia) (also known as Photinia floribunda): Images

Date Location Notes Images
September 20, 2010 Southeastern, New Hampshire There are three varieties of Chokeberry in New Hampshire: Purple Chokeberry (Aronia prunifolia). Black Chokeberry (Aronia melanocarpa) and Red Chokeberry (Aronia arbutifolia). However, the scientific names are some sort of botanical nightmare. Some botanists have put Chokeberries under the genus Photinia with differing species names. Some have put Chokeberries under the genus Pyrus. It is probably easiest to call them Chokeberry or Aronia.

One very distinctive identifying feature of the Chokeberry leaves is that they have tiny black hairs on the midrib (middle vein) of the upper leaf surface. If you click on and expand the picture on the right (you may have to click a second time to expand it further), you will see tiny black hairs on the midrib.

The leaves of Chokeberry are alternate. Notice also that the teeth on the leaves are very small and rounded (crenate). The leaf is smaller at the bottom and wider at the top. The top of the leaf has a short, pointy tip. The veins start out pinnately at the middle vein (perpendicular to the middle vein), but then turn upwards and run parallel to each other and the middle vein (arcuate). The flowers (not shown) are white with four petals.

Some botanists believe that Purple Chokeberry is a cross between the Black Chokeberry and the Red Chokeberry. Red Chokeberry has signficant matted hairs on the backs of the leaves and the flower stems. Black Chokeberry has hairless backs of the leaves and flower stems. The Purple Chokeberry has some hairs on the backs of the leaves and a thin gray or white mat of hairs on the flower stem.

Chokeberry is a fruit that can be used to make a pressed juice. The pulp is bitter so it is best to mash the fruit with Spring water and then press through a bag such as a jelly bag. The juice can be used to make jelly.
Date Location Notes Images
September 22, 2010 Southeastern, New Hampshire Purple Chokeberry fruit and juice made by mashing the berries with 1/4th the water of the volume of berries and then straining it through a cotton bag.
Date Location Notes Images
August 6, 2011 Southeastern, New Hampshire