Aronia is a genus in the Rose family native to the Eastern United States and Canada whose astringent berries have been cultivated in Europe to produce juice, tea, wine and syrup. Aronia is closely related to and sometimes included in the genus Photinia.
Aronia's unique nutritional and antioxidant profile has led to research in its use against colon cancer, liver damage, diabetes and oxidative stress, including stress resulting directly from chemical exposure. Additionally, Aronia is pest and disease resistant and easy to cultivate, making it a genus of interest to those researching the creation of new markets for minor crops in the United States.
Aronia's common name, chokeberry, is sometimes confused with chokecherry (Prunus virginiana), whose high cyanide content has proven fatal to livestock. Aronia species have no such toxicity issues. Further adding to the confusion is the existence of a Prunus virginiana cultivar called "Melanocarpa", which is also the name of an Aronia species. For this reason, it is preferable to refer to Aronia by its botanical name.
There are two Aronia species: melanocarpa, or black chokeberry, and arbutifolia, or red chokeberry. Both are available as native specimen plants from Possibility Place; more palatable European cultivars are available for shipment from Raintree Nursery and other domestic vendors. This discussion may be helpful to you in deciding if this is the right fruit for your needs and or goals.