Date of Completion
Aronia (Medik.), commonly known as chokeberry, is a taxonomically misunderstood genus currently experiencing a renaissance in North America as both an ornamental and fruit crop. Three species of chokeberry are commonly accepted as native in North America: A. arbutifolia (L.) Pers. red chokeberry; A. melanocarpa (Michx.) Elliot, black chokeberry; and A. prunifolia (Marshall) Rehder, or purple chokeberry. In Europe a fourth species of human origin is recognized as Aronia mitschurinii (A.K.Skvortsov & Maitul.), or cultivated, black-fruited Aronia. It is widely speculated that this genotype originated in the early 20th century with Russian pomologist Ivan Michurin, as the product of his experiments in wide hybridizations. In my research I attempt to determine the feasibility of this hypothesis by exploring Aronia’s crossing capabilities and testing the relationships of A. mitschurinii to wild Aronia species and several other Pyrinae genera using amplified fragment length polymorphic (AFLP) analysis. Successful seed formation was achieved between maternal diploid A. melanocarpa and Malus domestica, Photinia serrulata, Sorbus, and ×Sorbaronia. Clustering of AFLP similarity data using the unweighted pair group method with arithmetic mean (UPGMA) identified A. mitschurinii as distinct from wild Aronia spp., placing it on a branch with ×Sorbaronia fallax and ×Sorbaronia ‘Ivan’s Beauty’. Non-metric multidimensional scaling (nMDS) clustered A. mitschurinii apart from wild Aronia spp., and demonstrated a relationship between Sorbus aucuparia, ×Sorbaronia fallax, and Aronia. Bayesian analysis revealed A. mitschurinii to possess genetic influence from the genus Sorbus subgenus Sorbus.
Leonard, Peter J., "Aronia mitschurinii: Solving a Horticultural Enigma" (2011). Master's Theses. Paper 183.