[NAFEX] Your favorite Hawthorns, Juneberries/Serviceberries, Crab-apple - and Munson plum discussion...
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Tue Dec 7 13:59:40 EST 2010
Subject: Your Opinions: Best Rosacea pome fruits by species for cultivation...
1. Hawthorn: I hear that Crataegus flava, C. [sub]mollis, and C. succulenta are among or are the best hawthorns for eating out-of-hand. I have no idea if these recommendations have more to do with pome size or flavor. From experience, I know that some hawthorns are highly subject to larval infestation; there was a small-fruited one that I found that was nearly worm-free and tasted much better then all other species I've tasted - perhaps it is Washington hawthorn (C. phaenophyrum)... it's been a while, so I don't remember for sure.
2. Juneberries/Serviceberries, incl. Saskatoon: I've read that smooth-serviceberry (Amelanchier laevis) is the best-flavored of all Juneberries/serviceberries and that downy-serviceberry (A. arborea) is the least best of the (tree?) serviceberries. I've tasted an amazingly sweet, blue-fruited Amelanchier (spp?) that may be running serviceberry (A. stolonifera) or a younger thicket serviceberry/downy shadblow (A. canadensis). Lucky described to me a very good apple-serviceberry hybrid (A. x grandiflora) that he found down in KY. At some point, I'll have all NJ native serviceberries so I can make comparisons - multiple specimens of each spp. I found a wild A. canadensis that tasted unfit for birds which was the first and only time I've tasted a bitter, non-sweet serviceberry - anyone want scion-wood? :) I've yet to try: A. obovalis; A. stolonifera; A. sanguinea; A. humilis; A. laevis; A. arborea; A. lamarckii (questionable taxon); A. nantucketensis; and A. alnifolia.
2a. Aside from it's smaller size, are there some significantly superior fruiting characteristics (aside from size, if that) to Saskatoon (A. alnifolia). It is not well-suited to the warmer regions, especially not USDA zone 7(/6) southward. Cliff England has some good cultivars that will enable growers south of it's range to get by the best, including cv. 'Blue Ray'. I've never tasted the berry and am hoping to hear back from growers that have tasted some definite A. alnifolia cultivars as well as other Amelanchier spp. to give us a taste-comparison. If there is not tremendous flavor benefit to Saskatoon, I'd rather work with (breeding) the local, typical serviceberries common to the northeast (A. canadensis, etc.)
2b. Does anyone have any A. obovalis; A. stolonifera; A. sanguinea; A. humilis to send scion-wood so that I have a voucher or vouchers to properly ID local finds? - all of the serviceberies are confusing to me, especially without observing flowering, fruiting, and so on, and hawthorn is not that much better. Of if a superior-fruited variety, A. laevis or any other non-Saskatoon serviceberry? I only have A. x grandiflora 'Autumn Brilliance' when it comes to actual cultivars of serviceberries.
2c. What is the species that is 'Jellybelly'? A. obovalis or A. laevis?
3. Crab-apple: What is the difference in fruit between Malus coronaria (sweet crab-apple) and M. ioensis (prairie crab-apple)? I hear that the first is far-less bitter.
4. Plums: Does anyone have Prunus munsoniana (wild gooseplum; Munson plum; Potawatmie) from any location? Ken Asmus from Oikos told me that it is better then any other native plum - doesn't have the astringent skin of sandplum/chickasaw and American plum, etc. I don't remember where the material is, but I read something from around 1900 that suggested this plum as extraordinarily conducive to horticultural production as superior to all other native plums - I bet it's excellent.
4a. If you live in the area in or adjacent to NJ, do you have any local wild P. americana, P. angustifolia, P. nigra, P. hortulana, P. alleghaniensis, P. x dunbarii? I have a friend whose an ecologist who is looking to propagate these from local genotypes for the state park's nursery program, in case anyone has these around. I'm still working on tracking these locally uncommon plants.
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