The antioxidant rich black chokeberry (Aronia melanocarpa) has been gaining popularity for use in nutraceutical products and processed foods and drinks. The highly astringent berry is native to eastern North America and was used for food and medicine by the Potawatomi and Abnaki Native American peoples (Moerman 1998). Commercial Aronia production in Northern and Eastern Europe exceeds 60,000 acres (Hannan 2013), while the U.S. industry is small but increasing. The species is well suited to cultivation in the northern Great Plains and Rocky Mountains and may be of potential interest to berry growers in the region. The aim of our research is to determine which varieties of Aronia perform best in western Montana and their potential to be productive and profitable for commercial endeavors. Thus far we can say that varieties of Aronia mitschurinii (A.K.A. Sorbaronia mitschurinii)—a cross between Aronia melanocarpa and European Mountain Ash (Sorbus aucuparia)—are much more productive than the ornamental varieties (e.g., 'Autumn Magic') derived from wild-type A. melanocarpa (Tables 1 and 2). 


Table 1. Yields, fruit weight, and sugar content of Aronia varieties at MSU-WARC in Corvallis (COR).

Cultivar Yield (lbs/plant) Individual Fruit
Weight (g)
Sugar (°Bx)
2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
Autumn Magic 1.8 2.4 3.9 3.3 1.2 0.6 24.3
McKenzie 2.7 16.8 16.7 21.2 8.1 1.1 18.9
Viking 3.3 15 11 16.1 8.6 0.9 17.4

Table 2. 2018 yields, fruit weight, and sugar content of Aronia varieties at Flathead Valley Community College in Kalispell (KSP).

Cultivar Yield (lbs/plant) Individual Fruit
Weight (g)
Sugar (°Bx)
McKenzie 12.0 0.6 26.3
Viking 10.2 0.7 25.7

Table 3. Juice characteristics of Aronia varieties in the MSU-WARC trial (juice was extracted via commercial juicer).

Cultivar Lbs Fruit /
Gal Juice
pH Titratable Acidity
(g citric acid /
L equivalents)
Sugar (°Bx)
Autumn Magic 28 3.8 8.8 24.0
McKenzie 19 3.5 11.8 18.8
Viking 16 3.5 12.8 20.8


Hannan, J. 2013. Aronia berries. Agricultural Marketing Resource Center.

Moerman, D.E. 1998. Native American Ethnobotany. Portland, OR: Timber Press.