Interest in Aronia (chokeberry) has increased in recent years because its fruit contains high levels of antioxidants and polyphenols, it is adaptable to various geographic regions, and it has little susceptibility to diseases and pests. It seems like a great match for commercial orchard production, but currently there is little genetic diversity in Aronia grown for fruit production and the fruit has an astringent taste, thus requiring some form of processing before human consumption. Jonathan Mahoney, a PhD student in the Department of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture at the University of Connecticut and an Arnold Arboretum Visiting Fellow, is working on a breeding program to improve Aronia for the commercial fruit industry through intergeneric hybridization. His research group is crossing Aronia with other members of the Pyrinae subtribe within Rosaceae (the rose family) to create novel types of pome fruits for commercial fruit and ornamental crop production. Other important members of the subtribe include Malus (apple), Pyrus (pear), and Cydonia (quince), along with less commonly known fruits including Sorbus (mountain ash), Amelanchier (serviceberry), and Crataegus (hawthorn)—all potential hybridizers with Aronia. Jonathan will demonstrate how he conducts controlled pollinations and discuss some of the reproductive barriers that the breeding program encounters when working with taxa in the Pyrinae subtribe. Gather at Acc. #759-78*C x Sorbaronia dippelii on Willow Path in the Bradley Rosaceous Collection at 4:00pm on Thursday, May 18.
Parking: Park along the Arborway near the Arborway Gate. Enter through the Arborway Gate and immediately turn onto Willow Path. Follow signs to the destination.
Public Transportation: Take the MBTA Orange Line to Forest Hills. At the upper level of the station, cross Washington Street and go to the right. Walk uphill on the sidewalk that parallels the down ramp. Continue until you reach the Forest Hills Gate (approximately a 10 minute walk). Take Willow Path to the meeting location. Or take the 39 Bus to South and Sedgewick Streets. Walk west on Custer Street to the Arborway and cross at the lights to the Arboretum. Take Willow Path to the meeting location.
See map of gate locations.