Chokeberry at Todmorden Mills: August 2022

If the Chokeberry shrub could hire a public relations executive, the first thing that that person would do is to change the name. Perhaps use the scientific name: Photinia.

Black Chokeberry (Photinia melanocarpa)

In fact, the sour berries can be eaten raw off the bush (I did so today and didn’t choke), but are more frequently processed. They can be used to make wine, jam, syrup, juice, soft spreads, tea, salsa, extracts, beer, ice cream and Gummies. The name “chokeberry” comes from the astringency of the fruits, which create the sensation of making one’s mouth pucker.

Black Chokeberry (Photinia melanocarpa)

Todmorden Mills Wildflower Preserve is the only Toronto area location which I know of that has Chokeberry. The similarly named Chokecherry is much more common.

Black Chokeberry (Photinia melanocarpa)

Chokeberry grows in swamps and wet woods but also on dry sandy or rocky ridges and in pine woods.

Black Chokeberry (Photinia melanocarpa)

Some other plants at Todmorden Mills Wildflower preserve:

Cat-tails (Typha)
Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus inserta)
Black Maple (Acer nigrum)
Bottlebrush Grass (Elymus hystrix)
Wood Nettle (Laportea canadensis)
Alternate-leaved Dogwood (Cornus alternifolia)
Canada Wild Rye (Elymus canadensis)
Coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara)
Soft-stemmed Bulrush (Schoenoplectus tabernaemontani)
Sycamore (Platanus occidentalis)

Field Sow-thistle (Sonchus arvensis)
Highbush-cranberry (Viburnum opulus)
Buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis)
Red Elderberry (Sambucus racemosa)
Agrimony (Agrimonia gryposepela)
Enchanter’s-nightshade ( Circaea canadensis)
Sensitive Fern
May-apple (Podophyllum peltatum)
Black Currant (Ribes nigrum)

Todmorden views:


“When one has tasted watermelon, he knows what the angels eat.”  – Mark Twain (1835–1910)

Miles Hearn

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