[NAFEX] crabapples, and haskaps

Sarah Kehler Ewing skkewing at yahoo.com
Mon Sep 8 19:09:13 EDT 2008

Hi Melissa,

I highly recommend Haskap/Honeyberries as worth growing.  They taste like an Oregon Grape crossed with a Blueberry: they may be a bit tart for eating out of hand for some people, but they make the tastiest pies, jams, sauces, etc.  We have almost all of the many varieties available: Blue Belle, Berry Blue, Blue Velvet, Svetlana, Blue Pear, Cinderella, Polar Jewel, Polar Night, (still looking for Blue Forest and I didn't have time to put in the new ones from U. of S: Tundra, etc.).  They all taste a little different: some are definitely sweeter than others and some have a hint of bitterness if picked too green (does not show up when cooked).  They have never died back in zone 3 even with no protection or snow at -35F and have produced nice crops of inch long berries with little watering.  The one thing they are susceptible to is Spit Bugs which don't seem to actually bother them.  The only other caution I have is that their branches are very brittle: our
 deer chaser dogs made a path beside one bush that started the winter 3' tall and ended it 6" tall!

As for sources: Park Seeds carries 'Blue Velvet', but you need two for cross-pollination (I believe Park Seeds lists their honeyberries as zone 5 or something ridiculous like that: they are zone 2, probably even zone 1 hardy). You could check with DNA Gardens as they might ship across the border.

Sarah, zone 3, Edmonton, Alberta

> But anyway, I'm mostly thinking of planting species
> that are so obscure, the local pests hopefully won't
> know what to do with them. Haskaps, Lonicera
> caerulea,sound particularly intriguing. This is a blue
> berry that ripens two weeks before strawberries, and
> is reputedly tasty eaten fresh, like blueberries.

> The species has various other names, like blue
> honeysuckle and honeyberries, but the new varieties
> that have just been developed by the University of
> Saskatchewan that are supposedly so much tastier than
> the earlier varieties, the breeders want to distance
> themselves completely from the earlier kinds by using
> a different name. Haskap is a traditional name for
> this berry in Japan. Here are the new varieties:

> The trouble is, these varieties seem to be available
> only in Canada, and I can't find a Canadian nursery
> that can ship plants to the US. Is there any way I can
> buy these plants?


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