Uncommon cold hardy fruit?

glieseJanuary 4, 2008

Hi all. I posted this in the Pa Gardening part of the forum, and thought I'd try here to see if I could get any other opinions.

I'm mostly interested in weird tropical fruit, but I've recently become aware of the fact that there's a lot more than apples I can grow here in zone 5, but I'd like to see if anyone has had a good experience with any of the ones that I'm looking to plant. My nice long list is: Pawpaw, Quince, Goumi, Gooseberry/Currant, Elderberry, Ginkgo, Saskatoon berry, Artic Kiwi, Blue Bean Bush (Decaisnea fargesii), Bannana Yucca (Yucca baccata), Nanny berry (Viburnum lentago), Americian/Lotus Persimmon (Diospyros virginiana/lotus), Seaberry, Spice Bush (Lindera benzoin), Chequer tree (Sorbus torminalis), and Kousa Dogwood (Cornus Kousa chinensis). I'd also like to grow some sort of rose with edible hips and a frost hardy opuntiod cactus. The only one of those I've ever actually seen around here is the Ginkgo, and I know that the Gooseberry/Currant and Elderberry should be fine, but, although the rest should be hardy in zone 5, I was wondering if anyone had any experience with any of the above mentioned species. I'd like to make sure that they've got a chance before spending any money. Also, in the case of some of the more cultivated ones, like the Pawpaw, Quince, and rose, could anyone recommend any superior fruiting varieties of anything?

I'm also wondering if Jujubes are hardy to zone 5. I recently read on Tyty Nursery's site that they are (they also said a pomegranate called Plantation Sweet was z5 hardy), but considering the source, I'd rather ask knowledgeable people first.


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chills71(Zone 6b Mi)

First off, let me warn you away from TyTy Nursery. I know it looks tempting, but there is a website where online nurseries are rated by their customers and TyTy actually had such poor ratings that they threatened the site with a lawsuit (unwinnable, but expensive nonetheless) rather than try and make their customers happy. If you order from them, your purchases will likely be dead and the wrong varieties (or even species) and they offer no recourse to dissatisfied customers. Either way, check out www.gardenwatchdog.com to find out online source ratings.

That being said, there are a number of great other nurseries. Request catalogs from Burnt Ridge Nursery (my favorite), One Green World, Raintree Nursery, Hidden Springs Nursery...I could go on and on.

I've planted most of the items on your list. Some of mine have come into bearing (most fruit trees take a few years to mature enough to start producing) but many have not, yet. I can tell you that pawpaws are wonderful, sweet with a banana/mango/custard-ish flavor and texture. You will have to plant at least 2 trees (both will produce fruit, but they require cross-pollenation).

Saskatoons are also quite good. My son will sit outside and pick a saskatoon clean (as will many birds) over just about anything else. They are pretty carefree and ornamental as well. Blueberry-like is a fair description, but I actually prefer Saskatoons (also called serviceberries) because of the flavor of the seeds (almond-like).

I'm still waiting for my kiwis to start producing (these also require more than one plant, with one of the plants being male and the other female). My male bloomed last year, hopefully the females will start this year.

I thought I had Goumi, but I had Autumn Olive (a closely related fruit) instead. I rectified that last year by adding a goumi. So I'm waiting on this one as well.

Gooseberry/Currant. I've got many of these and some of them are "must-haves". Red Currants taste somewhat like Pomegranite and they start producing quickly. Black Currants are something I added last year and I shed no tears when my dog dug it up (the fruit were quite unappetizing) but I will try another (better rated) variety this year. i've got 3 different Gooseberry varieties and I'll be adding a 4th this year.

I was unimpressed with Kousa Dogwood the one time I tried the fruit. Similar reaction to Rugosa Rose hips (these were allowed to stay as my wife loves them) actually the hips were better than the dogwood fruit but not terribly so.

Seaberry...killed plants twice replanted again last year (will be the last time I try). Supposedly easy plant that I just haven't had much luck with.

Jujube. planted 2 varieties last year, one bloomed already (again without two for pollenation, no fruit...though I wouldn't have let it fruit the first year anyway). The tiny almost un-noticible flowers are wonderfully fragrant, though. I did get some fruit from a farmer's market locally and they were quite tasty.

Blue Bean Bush...Looks really cool, but supposedly is akin to eating sweetened snot....also its kind of a gangly looking plant.

Ginkgo....10+ years to fruit (and only then if you have a female) Add to that the fact that the fruit which covers the gingko nut supposedly has the fragrance of rotting meat while ripening.

Spicebush...Tasty, good for seasoning meats and the trimmings from the branches can be used for smoking (foods) or smell nice in a fireplace. 2 sexes, only females produce berries.

Raspberries, blackberries might be worth considering as well. I would definitely add Illinios Everbearing Mulberry to your list as well (vigorous, fast growing, comes into bearing within 1-2 years frequently and very tasty as well) to your list. I wouldn't plant it too close to the house or a patio, though. The fruit can stain (my sons have purple fingers when they're ripening).


    Bookmark   January 5, 2008 at 12:01AM
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chills71(Zone 6b Mi)

three more uncommon fruit I have that I didn't mention

Che (Cudrania Tricuspidata) related to mulberry and fig. Looks like a ping-pong ball sized human brain (at least that's what I think it looks like).

Passion Fruit (passiaflora incarnata). Also called Maypop. some years I get fruit, some years it never ripens. The good years are worth it. The looks people give the flowers alone are worth it.

Goji berries (also called wolfberries). Supposedly one of the most nutritious foods on the planet. Next time you're in a natural foods store (like Whole Foods) see how much they charge for Goji Berries. Buy a pack and if you like them, split a couple fruit and plant the seeds. I've not yet gotten fruit off mine, but I really need to move them so that they get more sunlight. I did get blooms once, but it was too late in the year (late Sept).


    Bookmark   January 5, 2008 at 12:08AM
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Thanks. I read a few threads about The Tyty/Dave's Garden thing a bit, and it was actually kinda funny, except for the part where its true.

I was actually kinda hoping that I'd get positive reactions with regard to the Kousa and rose. Oh well, I'll give them a shot anyway; maybe I'll get lucky. I'm glad to here that the Spicebush has uses, though. pfaf.org says that the new bark is nice to chew on.

Its interesting that you say that the red currants were better than the black. I read someone else saying that the black was better than red (and that both were better than white). I guess this is a nice excuse for me to try both, just to be safe.

I originally had Autumn Olive on my list, but I read that it can be invasive, so I decided to skip it. I also found a site that sells a self-fertile Ginkgo tree, so I plan of putting it somewhere out of the way.

Regarding Kiwis, do you happen to know if anyone can get them to fruit easily? I know that bees dislike tropical kiwis, and saturation pollination techniques must be used to force the bees to pollinate them, but I was wondering if the same held true for Arctic Kiwis.

Also, have you ever ordered from Sandusky Valley? Their Dave's Garden feedback looks bad, but their eBay feedback doesn't look so bad, and their plants are cheap. I'd like to get a few of their plants, but I'll look into the nurseries you suggested as well.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2008 at 12:40AM
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People's tastes and experiences will vary considerably. Here are mine:
By all means, read and enjoy the TyTy catalog and it's cheesy, creepy, doctored photos - but under no circumstances should you ever order anything from them.
Pawpaw - I was really high on them for a while, but I've gotten to the point that I can eat one fruit and that's enough for the season; most folks who try the fruit fall into two camps - they either find them delectable or disgustingly insipid. I'm glad I didn't dedicate major space to planting them. New research showing a possible link to a Parkinson's Disease-like syndrome makes me a bit squeamish about eating a bunch of 'em.
Quince- none of mine have fruited, but I've eaten true quinces(Cydonia oblonga) and flowering quince shrub(Chaenomeles spp.) fruits all my life, and I'd say if you've got space, then it'd be worth having one. Chinese Quince(Pseudocydonia) is a nice ornamental - pink blossoms, red/orange fall color, interesting exfoliating bark like crape myrtle, and my understanding is that the fruits are similar in quality to Cydonia(mine haven't yet fruited).
Gooseberries - easy, carefree; I like 'em a lot - but no one else in my family does. Currants - I just planted a few this year; I'm not so sure about 'em though - everything I keep seeing about the black currants, in particular, is that they taste like cat pee...
Saskatoons/serviceberries - a definite winner - if you can beat the birds to 'em.
Kiwis - I've had hardy kiwi(A.arguta) growing here for 12 years; still waiting for a fruit.
Persimmons - a winner; most all Americans will be hardy & productive for you; Early Golden, Yates, Morris Burton are amont the best - Meader is pushed by many of the nurseries as 'seedless', but it's just an average quality persimmon at best, and it will be seeded when grown in the eastern US. Some Asians may do Ok for you - I know of Great Wall & Sheng surviving well and fruiting in Red Lion PA. Then, there are a few confirmed & putative hybrids - Rosseyanka & Keener should perform well for you there.
Seaberry - like my friend chills, I planted some one time, but they turned toes-up pretty quickly here. I didn't try them again.
Kousa - a different taste sensation, reminds me somewhat of pawpaw - but not as nice. Nice ornamental, and the fruits are a bonus, but I don't know that I'd go overboard planting them purely for the fruits.
Lindera grows wild throughout the woods here - and I even have a yellow-orange fruited selection - again, a nice ornamental, and forage plant for spicebush swallowtail caterpillars, but I can't imagine eating the berries.
By all means, plant at least one mulberry - and Illinois Everbearing is the gold standard; big berries, good sweet/tart balance, bears over a 6-week period in early to mid summer. Hard to beat.\
Pomegranate - there are at least a couple of Russian varieties - Kazake & Salavatski - that are zone 6 hardy - and might survive & fruit in z5 with some work at protecting them from winter freeze injury. I'm trying several varieties from the NCGR, but it's too early to tell if they'll make it or not.
Ginkgo - I wouldn't want a fruiting female within half a mile of my home. 'Eau de dog poop' is what we call the fragrance associated with the pericarp surrounding the ginkgo nut. And the smell wafts a long way; you sure don't want to be tracking it in on the bottom of your shoes, either.

Here is a link that might be useful: NCGR Punica collection

    Bookmark   January 5, 2008 at 8:33AM
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gliese- i strongly recommend you reconsider the ginko tree-
the nuts absolutely stink like a sewer. we have a tree on our block and for about two months of the year, they drop nuts all over the road for about 70 feet and it makes walking past that area an extremely unpleasant task, and if you get any of the nut on your shoes, it will stink up the house in the same way that occurs when someone walks into the house with dog feces on their shoe.

I would strongly recommend you do not buy this tree.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2008 at 9:12AM
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Yikes. I read that the ginkgo was bad, but I didn't know just how bad. I guess I'll consider skipping that one. Well, when the local tree flowers in a few months, I'll be sure to get some firsthand experience.

Anyway, I'll look into suggested cultivators, get what I can, and give them a shot and hope for the best. I'd love to try growing those z6 hardy Pomegranates, but I think I'll get some experience with other fruit for a few years, and ponder winter care for those in the meantime.

Thanks for the replies.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2008 at 2:02AM
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Rose Hips: Carefree Beauty makes 1/2" orange hips. Even if it didn't make pretty flowers, it would be worth growing for the amount and quality of the fruit.

Cydonian Quince (Pyrus cydonia):
- Aromatnaya tastes like a pineapple flavored pear, but gets severe tip dieback and black spot here. Would NOT recommend.
- Cooke's Jumbo is very hardy and disease resistant.
- Champion is very productive.
- Meech's Prolific died from fireblight. Would NOT recommend.
- Dwarf Orange (Not Orange on a dwarf rootstock, but separate variety) grows well, very dieease resistant. Slow growing but productive.
- Pineapple is a nice hardy variety.
- Smyrna is a good disease resistant cooking variety. Makes great marmelade.
- Van Damen died during it's first winter here.
- BA 29-C is usually used as a rootstock, but makes decent fruit.
- Quince A died of fireblight.
- Quince C somewhat tolerant of fireblight.
- Quince E died during its first winter.

Seaberries (Sea Buckthorn) needs salt. A lot of people have problems growing it, often, I thick, because they don't see the obvious hint in the name of the plant that it is a seawater (saltwater) loving plant. If you don't have salt in your soil, like the kind you find around the sea, you will need to add salt to the soil. A teaspoon sprinkled around the crown every so often should be enough. Luckily mine are planted near the road where they get loads of salt in the winter.

I didn't see it listed: blueberries. Not sure about Pa, but here in ME, blueberries grow wild everywhere, even in the cracks of pavement. You might want to try them.

Silky Dogwood makes great jam.

Cornelian Cherry (Cornus mas) grows well.

Aronia grows everywhere here, almost as common as blueberries.

Medlars & mulberries ...

If you're interested in growing quinces, I would recommend the book, Quince Culture by W. W. Meech.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2008 at 4:34AM
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alan haigh

I feel I should throw in a vote of support for black currants. I have tried many of the fruits mentioned on this posting and find none more useful than this fruit.

Many of the fruits mentioned here are rare for very good reason, they just aren't popular enough to be a big hit anywhere in the world. Currants and Arguta Kiwis are certainly exceptions to this as are mulberries and gooseberries which all enjoy popularity in other parts of the world.

When I show Europeans my currants they generally light up with an almost religious excitement. The American varieties, hybreds created for pine blister rust resistance, are a bit strong to be great off the bush. Other varieties can be delicious uncooked.

Even the american types like Crusader can be thrown into a blender with fresh apple cider and strained to make the most delicious ambrosia I've ever tasted. As preserves they are world class, either alone or mixed with other fruit.

It is their leaves that have the cat piss aroma to the extent that it is unpleasent, which is very useful becuase it discourages browsing of deer.

Whitmans Nursery has a great selection and if you're willing to risk rust some of the varieties will give you excellent fruit for eating right off the plant.

Personally, I much prefer blacks to reds and whites and while some gooseberries are quite nice for fresh eating the overall utility of black currants wins my vote over all ribes. I should also mention that black currants are the most healthful fruit grown in the temperate world.They are off the charts for vitamin C, potassium and those ever so exciting flavenoids! Be the first on your block.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2008 at 7:55AM
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harvestman- what is your fave blackcurrant for fresh eating and which online source sells it

    Bookmark   January 6, 2008 at 8:38AM
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In defense of Pawpaws, most people don't seem to know when to eat them for the proper flavor. It's the smell, and slightest softness that gives it away. If you go by color, or heaven forbid let it drop to the ground first you have a 50/50 chance of it tasting like pure goodness or putrid evil.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2008 at 9:34AM
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theaceofspades(7 Long Island)

I ordered a Carmine Jewel and Crimson Passion bush cherries from St. Lawrence Nursery catalog, $15 ea. These ripen sweeter than sweet cherries and grow to about a quarter size. Zone 2 hardy. Sorry I didn't order Black Currants with the order I sent in last week. Black currants have an amazing amount of vitamins and minerals. Last spring I planted a local nursery $30 Jonkers(sp) red currant and it died a slow death. I thought it caught white pine blister, as there are oak pine forests surrounding. The Black Currant varieties in St Lawrence Nursery are White pine blister resistant. NY state lifted the ban on currants in 2003, but currants are still banned in DE, MA, ME, NC, NH, NJ, RI,WV. St. Lawrence has 5 pk. of resistant Black Currant plants for $47, 3 varieties, "Titania", "Ben Sarek", "Ben Connan".

    Bookmark   January 6, 2008 at 12:33PM
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alan haigh

LL, I could be better at maintaning labeling, but my recollection that the name of the best tasting variety I have here is Strata, which along with a lot of other varieties is available from Whitman Farms. For anyone interested in growing a quantity of ribes, Whitman is the place to go for good plants and great price.

Small orders are more expensive but less than most competition. She (Lucille) grows a lot of the material sold at nurseries like Raintree.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2008 at 12:44PM
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I know when to eat pawpaws - and when to offer them to others; still, some love them and others are repulsed. I've reached my 'saturation point', I guess - I just don't find them especially appealing any longer.

Most Americans, any more, are very uncomfortable with a soft, aromatic fruit with a flavor that complex; after a couple of generations of eating only picked-long-before-ripe grocery store fruit, they only expect/accept firm, crisp, mostly tasteless fruits as 'safe'. Try offering a ripe American persimmon - most folks would have nothing to do with it.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2008 at 4:36PM
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Chills- what's your take on the flavor and overall appeal of Che fruit?

    Bookmark   January 6, 2008 at 7:23PM
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Quinces are definitely worth growing. They make such a wonderfully aromatic jam - it does take like one and a half hours of cooking to get the proper red/pink color, but its worth it. And they ARE good for fresh eating if ripe enough; eating them like this is like eating apples, but they're like super-apples, with such a nice deep aroma, and just the right amount of tartness and nice and juicy and crunchy.

How about cornelian cherry? Cornus mas. I've never had the fresh fruit yet myself - but my relatives used to eat it in Iran, it was a commercial fruit there. Usually in the countries they're eaten they're cherished for their sourness, but they're usually sour because they're almost always grown from seed. However, there are selected, clonal varieties in America - One Green World in Oregon has a lot - so you can get one that won't be so sour.

and Medlar! Mespilus germanica. Again, my relatives used to eat these in Iran. The pluses with this fruit is that animals aren't likely to steal them from the tree, since they're rock-hard and flavorless until "bletted." I've actually had these (after "bletting" them) and they were pretty good. Another bonus is that it's a really late fruit that stores well (it takes a few weeks just to blet them), so you'll always have fresh fruit for eating year-round. Not to mention that it's a very tough tree - you probably won't have any disease/pest problems. Definitely a tree worth growing - I have two in my backyard. Only "downside" is the tree never gets very large, though you may see this as an upside. AND it's self-fertile. AND it can be grafted on almost anything - pear, apple, quince serviceberry (Amelanchier), and hawthorn. I eventually want to try grafting onto callery pear to get a big tree. My two trees are the variety "royal" - but I would recommend going for a large-fruited cultivar, like 'dutch' or 'breda giant' - and apparently the largest is "large russian" which has fruits the size of tangerines. I haven't seen it sold in nurseries, but user 'idogcow' has one.

Russian olive should be an easy-to-grow tree, but the the fruits might have a weird mealy texture. I've had the dried fruits (they dry naturally on the tree like jujubes or dates). The skin is thick, and the flesh has by then turned into a powder, which Iranians (again, my relatives) like. It's actually one of the oddest fruits I've heard of, up there with the durian (which is the best fruit in the world by the way - and I've only had the ones shipped to NYC at the markets). I mean it's powder-fruit. Really weird. Never had them while still fresh/juicy, but they might be better that way. You might want to try one of the other two Elaeagnus species - the goumi (E. multiflora) is the juiciest according to Lee Reich, but can be sour/astringent. Either way the flowers of Elaeagnus smell wonderful, my Uncle was raving about them.

The ground cherry/cape gooseberry (Physalis peruviana or pruinosa) is essentially hardy in your zone because it is an annual. The fruits are a bit bitter, but they make good jams/pie, and they have a good amount of pectin to set on their own.

There's the raisin tree, Hovenia dulcis, with weird little fruits that taste like candied walnuts (according to Lee Reich).

Don't forget lingonberries. And Strawberries - I've seen F. virginiana listed as being hardy to zone 5, thought this may be the usual nursery salesmanship exagguration, and alpine and musk strawberries are definitely hardy to your zone. Not unusual but the flavor of these species is to die for apparently.

Ginkgo? eh. I don't see it as worth growing. You'll eventually find a female, bearing tree in your area, as they're such a common urban, suburban, or anywhere ornamental tree. The fruits smell nasty when they fall, and it's hard to get at the nut. The taste is interesting and goes well with rice, but it's not amazing. Not to mention that you can't eat too many - it is poisonous in large enough amounts, and it's a cumulative poison, so you could end up eating too much over time.

There is a prickly-pear species that is hardy up to Northern NJ, but that really means zone 6. The species is Opuntia humifusa. I don't think you would be able to grow it without a lot of trouble with the cold you get.

There's also a king of melon I learned of recently called "pocket melons" or "plumgranny" It's a cultivar of melon (C. melo), but the fruits are small, with a mottled skin, and don't taste like much, but apparently have a wonderful strong aroma and can be used as a sort of air frshener. The plant is apparently very vigorous and easy to grow. Again - an annual, so essentially hardy to your area.

Most (I think all, actually) hawthorn species have edible fruits. There was a yellow/orange variety that my relatives ate and adored in iran they called "zalzalak" Like most of the other fruits they ate, they could probably be grown in our/your area. Pars produce sells it, but some reviews shows that nursery doesn't have such good service.

I looked up this banana yucca - it might be hardy to your area, but do you think it will fruit where you are? Remember, there is a much longer growing season there (i.e. it's warmer for a longer period of time), not to mention that the plant's flowering might be short-day induced, in which case you'd get flowers right before autumn starts, which is definitely not the time for the fruit to develop.

there's also magnolia vine, Schizandra chinensis. From what I read it has a distinctive flavor.

Also clove currant - currant native to the American midwest, with "spicy" smelling flowers and fruit.\

Various honeysuckle species (lonicera). Apparently you can also pick the flowers on certain species and suck out the sweet nectar.

And yes there are certain rose species that bear a lot of fruit. Rosa rugosa and canina. But rose fruits are usually used for making jam, with the only real reason for eating the fruit being the crazy-high amounts of vitamin C it has (which of course would be lowered as you cook it to make the jam - but it would still be a lot of vitamin C in the end)

And the sorbus species you should go for is Sorbus domestica. It has relatively large fruits which I read are amazing when allowed to over-ripen.

and of course the super-nutritious wolfberries. Loaded not just with vitamins and minerals, but a ton of protein too, more so than a lot of beans even. But not too tasty, I'm not sure I'd even call them a fruit. You're supposed to use them in cooking, like put them in a pot of rice.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2008 at 6:36PM
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I forgot to say that for any of them, look for varieties that are selected for superior fruit, which some nurseries have. For example, when I bought my goumi, I bought a variety from burnt ridge called "sweet scarlet" that they grow clonally and claim is tastier. It may be a lot of hooplah, but there is probably at least a LITTLE selection that went on, even if it was just a comparison of two random seedlings and they picked the tastier-fruited one. It's the same/similar price, so why not go for the one that just may be tastier?

    Bookmark   January 7, 2008 at 7:32PM
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chills71(Zone 6b Mi)

fruithack...I honestly wish I could tell you (with regard to the Che). I'm still waiting for my tree to produce. I can tell you it is pretty carefree, I haven't seen a single leaf diseased or eaten in the past 2 years and with the exception of its thorns I can't say a bad thing about it. (well I would prefer if it fruited at a younger age...lol)

Peanuttree....I can say that I've not tried Clove Currant fruit (only one bloomed last year) but the fragrance of the (little) flowers is enough of an incentive for me to grow it. I would have to say that it is my favorite fragrant plant of the springtime.

Magnolia Vine (Eastern Prince)....Sure the flowers are magnolia-like, if you've got a magnifying glass. Mine flowered one year and hasn't since (its been in the ground three years now). I'm thinking maybe mine needs more sun than its getting.

Common (yellow and white) Lonicera Japonica is the one that you can suck the nectar out of (I've taught all my kids and neices and nephews this trick). Flowers are wonderful smelling, but this honeysuckle is the one that people will boo and hiss at you as it tends to self-seed and get out of bounds. There are honeysuckle varieties that produce blue fruit (called honeyberries or Haskop), but I have not yet tried these (I'm waiting til the newer Canadian varieties are available in the states).

I've got yellow flowered Opuntia (hardy cactus) as well. These are interesting as a curiosity, but the "pears" are smaller than the ones you can get at the store and once you've suffered the thorns and pain once in trying to eat one of the "pears" you'll probably decide this is one fruit to grow only for the flowers.

I would have to say that the white (yellow wonder) alpine strawberries are probably one of my favorite fruits as well. I'm thinking of dividing up and planting another 10 of so square feet of them. They are easily grown from seed (though I have found that about half of the ones I purchased as Yellow Wonder have turned out to have red-fruit) I keep meaning to mark the white and red-fruited varieties and divide the whites and remove the reds, but I never seem to remember to do it (its not that the reds aren't good, but the birds tend to see those and I probably lose half of the berries because of that)


PS....Lee Reich's book is great if you're interested in growing unusual fruit

    Bookmark   January 7, 2008 at 8:58PM
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joereal(Ca z9/SS z14)

The male Gingko is very nice tree. One thing that I like about it is that within one week, all the leaves fall off, after weeks of beautiful fall colors. You need to rake the leaves only once. But the female Gingko....

    Bookmark   January 7, 2008 at 9:11PM
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See the linked thread from earlier this year, on medlars, before you go there.

Here is a link that might be useful: Just say 'no' to medlars

    Bookmark   January 8, 2008 at 6:55AM
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You mention a possible Parkinson's link to paw paw. Can you point us to that research? I found something online that suggests a link, but for the West Indies, probably Papaya instead of American paw paw.


    Bookmark   January 8, 2008 at 2:39PM
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I'll have to search my files.
When I first saw the alleged connection of pawpaw & atypical Parkinsons, I was thinking, "OK, in most of the world, 'pawpaw' means Carica papaya - the plant & fruit that we Americans refer to as papaya'. But that was not the case, as the articles I've seen have incriminated acetogenins from the Annonaceae - the plant family which includes our American pawpaws, the Asimina species. Somewhere along the line, I ran across one article which named Asimina specifically, as well as the tropical Annonae, like cherimoya, soursop, etc.

Here's one, for starters, and I'll see if I can dig up some of the others I'd encountered earlier:

Quantification of acetogenins in Annona muricata linked to atypical parkinsonism in Guadeloupe.
Mov Disord. 2005 Dec;20(12):1629-33. Laboratory of Pharmacognosy, UMR 8076 Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique BioCIS, Facult� de Pharmacie Paris XI, Ch�tenay-Malabry, France.
Atypical parkinsonism in Guadeloupe has been associated with the consumption of fruit and infusions or decoctions prepared from leaves of Annona muricata L. (Annonaceae), which contains annonaceous acetogenins, lipophilic inhibitors of complex I of the mitochondrial respiratory chain. We have determined the concentrations of annonacin, the major acetogenin in A. muricata, in extracts of fruit and leaves. An average fruit is estimated to contain about 15 mg of annonacin, a can of commercial nectar 36 mg, and a cup of infusion or decoction 140 microg. As an indication of its potential toxicity, an adult who consumes one fruit or can of nectar a day is estimated to ingest over 1 year the amount of annonacin that induced brain lesions in rats receiving purified annonacin by intravenous infusion.

Linked below is a lengthy discussion thread on the article abstracted above.

Here is a link that might be useful: Cloudforest Cafe discussion

    Bookmark   January 8, 2008 at 11:58PM
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Interesting thread, just the one I was curious in. My Father inherited about 200acres in New Brunswick near Fredericton. He wants to pass the land onto me soon and I was curious what fruits would florusih up there in a zone 4B/5A. I visted the land once so far in the late summer. I noticed many wild berries especially raspeberries. Checking the annual rainfail its over 40inchs a year so concern for drought is not there.

I was thinking of going back there with family and starting to plant many different fruit seeds around the property hoping that some would later become big and healthy fruit trees. The first fruit that came to me growing up there was apples... However I heard the deer are a problem everywhere around the country... I am afraid that the deer up there would eat almost all the planted fruit trees and vines.

Now here is a question; Out of all the zone 4-5 compatible fruits which ones would need the least amount of care and could thrive in a wild unattended situation. I was reading under this thread about the cold hardy pomograntes... I love pomograntes, but I dont know if its viable growing them in Canada. The cold hardy kiwi also sounded very appealing.

I would be very happy if I could have the following thriving plants; Apples, Kiwis, Pomograntes, Peaches, Plums, and many different Berries.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2008 at 1:06PM
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Fredericton is a nice area and its climate is similiar to mine in Maine.

I have found some of the fruits that require the least care in a wild setting to be blueberries and cranberries; blackberries and raspberries with thorns (the thornless get eaten by deer and rodents); hawthorn; elderberries; plums with thorns (e.g. blackthorn or American plum); rhubarb (not a fruit, but eaten like one); apples with thorns (a high percentage of Antonovka seedlings have thorns); juneberries; viburnums; dogwoods (e.g. cornelian cherry); Rugosa Rose; Bush Quince (Chaenomeles, requires at least a few hours of direct sunlight per day to bloom); aronia.

Apples and pears:
If the cultivar has thorns (most commercial ones do not, but a few do) they should not be bothered by deer. If they don't have thorns, encircle each one with barbed wire about 5 ft high. Either way, the trunks will need to be protected from rodents stripping off the bark, easy to do with tree wrap. Apples and Pears that aren't to be sprayed, I would suggest getting fireblight resistant cultivars. Scab resistant wouldn't hurt either, but it usually takes at least 20-30 years of neglect for scab to kill a tree. A scab infected tree can come back to full health within 2-3 years of maintenence. Not sure about Fredericton, but here we get Crown rot, so I would recommend resistant rootstocks.
To test if you have Crown Rot, plant an apple grafted onto M26 or MM106 rootstock with the graft scar above the soil. If the tree dies with 2 years, you probably have it in the soil.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2008 at 4:09PM
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Are you in Michigan -- if so, where, if you don't mind my asking. You seem to be having survival on some of your things -- che fruit, jujube -- which I've tried several times, and I can only get the roots to survive the winters. I wish I knew how. Kind of like the way several people are getting Trifoliate Orange to survive and fruit in Niagra Falls, Ontario, and I can't get it to overwinter here.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2008 at 11:29PM
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Ginkgo nuts per se don't stink. Only the fruit around the nut. I've eaten them many times, being married to a Chinese woman. It's a starchy, fairly filling nut.

I would not write off paw-paws too soon. I'm not convinced the research is conclusive. People used to gather them wild regularly for a long time.

I've eaten Cornelian cherry. They are passable but not particularly tasty.

Another hardy Kiwi is Actinidia kolomitka, often confused with A. arguta. It is possibly even coldhardier, coming from the Russian far east, and it is a beautiful plant on top of having one of the tastier fruits. The male is more variegated but the females often show some color too. It is one of the most attractive of the Kiwis, and the fruit is sweeter than that of the Fuzzy Kiwi.

You didn't mention fig. It might be hard to find, but there is a Fig cultivar from Bavaria called "Violette" that is coldhardy to an astonishing -25C. I dunno if that is enough for your climate but I think it is the world's coldhardiest fig.

Russians eat a fruit called a "Goumi". I have never had one; I believe they are sour and made into tarts, sauces, and preserves. They fix nitrogen and are extremely coldhardy.

"Honeyberries" are the fruit of a type of Honeysuckle from the Russian far east. I have never had one but many people say they taste like blueberries but with a tangier aftertaste.

From about Germany east, some people grow "Sea Buckthorns" (Hippophae rhamnoides). I think they are sour. Not sure but I think it's another nitrogen fixer.

I don't know if Italian musk strawberries would be hardy in your part of the world but if so they are a distinctively fragrant strawberry. It is a distinct species--Frageria moschata.

Roses--heh heh, we cover that at my website. The most useful types are old roses, which are much coldhardier than tea types and more likely to be fragrant. I think they are also not nearly as prone to every pest and disease in the known universe?! I live in a climate mild enough for tea roses but they get blackspot, Phytophthora (which kills them), powdery mildew, aphids, and lots of other diseases. The useful parts are the petals, which can be used for a variety of purposes for scenting something else, and the hips, which are high in vitamin C. You make either rose hip tonic out of them, or you make rose hip jelly out of them.

Rugosa type roses also work well (probably better for hips, usually being single and therefor easier to pollinate, and having nice fat juicy hips), as do several types of wild species roses, some of which have particularly attractive fruits.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2008 at 2:02AM
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Thanks for the info Warrenl...

I did a little more research and found the exact area is actually closer to a zone 3. It is higher elevation toward the east of fredericton. This is going to be harder then I though finding tasty fruits that would flurish in the wild.

I was wondering about kiwis... Do the deer have a liking for them? It would seem with the thin fuzzy vines it would be at the bottom of the deers list for tasty plants.

Was reading up about the "Kolomitka Kiwis" they seem to fit perfect in what I was looking for. Going for Kolomika and Artic Beauty Kiwis would seem like a good way to go.

As for apples I found some interesting varieties to grow in a zone 3. No idea though if they have thorns or not. Here are some of the apples I was looking at; Duchess Apple, Goodland Apples, Haralson Apple, Honeycrisp, Norland, Sweet Sixteen, and Jonagold.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2008 at 12:49PM
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chills71(Zone 6b Mi)


Yes I am in Michigan. I'm about 1/2 mile from the south west side of Lake St Clair (in Saint Clair Shores).

The Jujube's were just put in last spring (and I put tubex around one of them but not the other). I am waiting to see if they make it (I bought cultivars, so I hope the do).

My weather is highly moderated by the proximity of the lake. It protects against severe cold and also keeps the early weather cooler (though last winter I did lose a clematis to that Easter freeze).

I monitor the temperatures in my yard with a wireless thermometer system. Last winter the coldest we got was 9 I think. So far this winter I've seen 12 degrees (the place I work is about 6 miles away and one of my co-workers said the thermometer there read 6 that same morning).


    Bookmark   January 11, 2008 at 2:41PM
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So far, you're probably safe with your jujubes, it hasn't been that cold yet. You're not too far from me, I'm in West Bloomfield.

As far as the flavors of some of the fruits listed above. Cornelian cherries are a bit too astringent to be eaten out of hand, and do have that annoying pit to be dealt with when cooked, but after cooking and sweetening make a really great jam or sauce. To me, it tastes like a cross between cranberries and sour cherries.

Goumis are pretty tasty -- they taste a lot like pomegranite. However, they're really small and aren't too terribly productive, so more of a nibble as you go by plant.

I planted two honeyberries 5 years ago, and really love them. They ripen before strawberries, and are astringent-tart when raw, but cooked taste just like blueberries. Honeyberry must be a "Madison-Avenue-ism," because they are NOT sweet. Have to cover the bushes, or the birds strip them before they're all even ripe.

Hey, I bet I've got a new one for all of you. Not a fruit, but a spice -- Szechuan peppercorn, which is the seed capsule of one of several species of prickly ash. The plant bears these 1" long seed capsules which split open like bittersweet, and have a little black round seed in the middle. They ripen in August here. You pick them, then dry and grind. They taste like black pepper mixed with orange rind and perhaps a dash of cloves. Popular in some Chinese recipes.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2008 at 4:04PM
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>>Hey, I bet I've got a new one for all of you. Not a fruit, but a spice -- Szechuan peppercorn, which is the seed capsule of one of several species of prickly ash.

Aw shucks, now I hate to spoil to steal someone else's thunder but that sounded like a challenge (grin). Of course I've had them; it's a common ingredient in Szechuanese cooking. Ma-Po daufu and hot-and-sour soup are both flavored with them, at least, in Szechuan (not usually outside the region where black pepper is apt to be substituted). I probably have some in my pantry. They are traditionally put in something like a tea infuser and extracted out when the food is cooked. For years I didn't know this and just ground them up like black pepper (the residue seems OK to me...).

denninmi, thanks for the descriptions of the Goumi and the Honeyberry--they are significant fruits even if obscure because among the hardiest and toughest (and the Goumi for fixing nitrogen too). I live in a climate that is fairly mild so I never tried them, but they are on my fruit-lists as survival crops for northerly climates.

>>I was wondering about kiwis... Do the deer have a liking for them? It would seem with the thin fuzzy vines it would be at the bottom of the deers list for tasty plants.

I don't know, but beware that Actinidia chinensis--the "Fuzzy Kiwi"--is the only one I know that is fuzzy. Actinidia has a lot of desireable species, and most of them are ornamental. Some have attractive glossy leaves, and some of the southern species are evergreen. Many have edible fruits, some of better quality than others. Arguta and kolomitka are the two very hardy species.

>>Was reading up about the "Kolomitka Kiwis" they seem to fit perfect in what I was looking for. Going for Kolomika and Artic Beauty Kiwis would seem like a good way to go.

"Arctic Beauty" is another name for Kolomitka. Someone made up that name because they don't have cultivar names--they are wild fruits. They are beautiful little vines (smaller than most of their kin); you can't go wrong. They do need some protection from intense sun especially when they are young. At my latitude (47.5 degrees N) they can probably stand full sun when a little more mature.

I think the "common name" for Argutas is "Hardy Kiwi", but that's not a very distinctive name because Kolomitkas are at least as hardy and probably hardier. The fruit is about the same size, but less oblong.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2008 at 5:46PM
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alan haigh

In my opinion, actinidia kolamitka are worhtless in our hemisphere. Arguta flowers much later so its tender blooms are not frozen out by even the mild frosts of April. In the northeast even argutas are not entirely reliable croppers, about bienniel in my experience, but kolamitka only gave me one crop in seven years before these plants were culled.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2008 at 7:05PM
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chills71(Zone 6b Mi)


Ever heard of Yellowhorn? (Xanthoceras Sorbifolia) Its a flowering/fruiting (well nutting) plant that we can grow in our area (is available from a local nursery) and supposedly produces a nut that I have seen described as tasting like a macadamia nut (althought I have also seen it described as having a soapy like flavor....maybe there are better tasting seedlings?

The flowers alone will have people asking what it is. (google them and see for your self)

Mine is only a year old, but it grew well this last year.

atash...I've got a few figs, but I'll believe a fig hardy to -25 C when I see it.

~Chills (who is very quickly running out of room for planting)

    Bookmark   January 11, 2008 at 8:59PM
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Yup, actually, I have one. I bought it from Raintree five or 6 years ago. It has grown extremely slowly -- it's still only about 4 feet tall. It has bloomed a couple of springs -- pretty white panicles of small flowers with prominent yellow stamens, but it hasn't set any nuts.

OK, have you tried Toona sinensis, the "stir-fry" tree? I had one for five or six years, but it bit the dust last spring, because I forgot to mulch it. It only grew as a die-back. The leaves were actually kind of tasty, although I just ate them out in the yard, never got around to picking them for a real stir-fry?

And yes, I too, haven't tons of room left.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2008 at 9:07PM
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sorry to burst your bubble guys, but you might have a lot of trouble getting a szechuan peppercorn plant to grow (as in finding where to buy/get one), if at all. Szechuan peppercorn plants, and thus also the peppercorns themselves, are an alternate host for the citrus canker disease, so importing the peppercorns was banned until 2005. Now they can be imported, but they have to be heat-treated.

Given these facts, lord knows what the laws are regarding growing them. I'm pretty sure importing the plants is illegal too, so I don't think any nurseries have ever been able to import a large stock to start propagating and selling the plants commercially. You might be able to find it at some botanic garden/museum somewhere.

And from what I understand the spice, besides having its own aroma, numbs your mouth, and so in szechuan they use it in combination with spicy (capsicum) to create an interesting sensation.

and I wouldn't worry about eating pawpaws. The article says they studied populations who are repeatedly taking infusions of the LEAVES of the plant - there is no study group of people who just eat the fruit, and the study shows that the fruit has very little acetogenins at all

    Bookmark   January 11, 2008 at 9:08PM
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Seaberries: I've done quite a bit of research on them and have never heard the connection to salt as a growth enhancer. The "sea" part of seaberries or sea buckthorn is a British marketing term (much like "tangerine") The British have used this plant for erosion control on beaches because it tolerates saltwater. The plant is native to central Asia rather than any seacoast.

I've planted about 20 of them over the years, some are very slow to take off, but none of them died, some of the older varieties (Dorana, Hergo, Leikora, etc) are rampant.

The fruit requires a very zealous picker's mentality; if you like picking thousands of little fruits among vicious needle-like thorns, this is the plant for you. The berries make an excellent juice and I'm just finishing up a pitcher of it from frozen stock.

The plant is hardy to nearly lunar temperatures and guaranteed to thrive on Mars, except for polar regions (this is a dig at TyTy catalog wordings).

    Bookmark   January 13, 2008 at 7:44PM
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Peanuttree -- I think you're right about the Sezchuan Pepper Corn -- Forestfarm carried the true Chinese species in its catalog around 2003 or 2004, I bought one, but it couldn't take my winters. No longer listed for sale this year.

However, mine which does grow for me is the native Z. americana, Prickly Ash or Toothache Bush, so it's legal. This species grows throughout eastern North America, and was used by the native Americans and pioneers for the numbing effect of the seeds and bark. It bears fruits pretty much identical, but just a little smaller, to the S.P. I've purchased from the store, and it tastes just about the same. I used it last summer to make "Bang Bang Chicken," a recipe I got off an Asian cooking site on the web, and it was quite tasty.

Of course, I understand the concern for protecting major agricultural crops from diseases like citrus canker, and one way of controlling certain diseases is by eliminating their alternate hosts, but still, I always thought it was silly to ban the cultivation of Sezchuan Pepper (the true species won't grow here anyway, too cold) in Michigan to protect the Florida citrus groves, or to ban a Texan from growing black currents so Michigan's stands of White Pine wouldn't get white pine blister rust disease. I suppose, though, microbes can really travel, spores on the wind, etc.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2008 at 3:13PM
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>>In my opinion, actinidia kolamitka are worhtless in our hemisphere.

Warm weather followed by late frosts is not a problem hemisphere-wide. ;-() Late frosts are rare in my climate, and in some climates the change of seasons is more decisive than yours.

Zanthoxylum piperitum is in cultivation on the west coast as an ornamental, but according to the website of a local nursery, you need both male and female plants to get the peppercorns.

I am not aware of any mouth-numbing effect, although the spice in our Chinese markets looks quite dessicated--maybe that is an effect of fresh seed.

One of our big collector's nurseries--Heronswood--was sold to Burpee Seed Co, which transformed it into a name brand for their sales of plants such as will actually grow east of the Rockies (they also offshored production of their catalog to India with the result that it wasn't ready on time last year and they lost a lot of sales). So anything uncommon has gotten a lot harder to find in recent years.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2008 at 3:22PM
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alan haigh

Atash, perhaps I spoke to quickly condemning kolimitka in the entire hemisphere but contrary to what you stated, I have read that all over the cold parts of the United States warm spells tend to be a problem with siberian types like Kolimitka. The person asking for advice is in PA so what I said certainly applies there.

What would be the advantage of Kolimitka over Arguta in any case? I think Arguta tends to have substantially larger fruit.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2008 at 4:45PM
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The advantage of A. kolomikta is its extremely early ripening, which is needed in really cold, short season areas where it is best adapted. It also has really good flavored fruit that can have very high vitamin C levels, but they are smaller than arguta fruit.

It is not a good choice for PA for growing outdoors in the ground. However, it can be easily grown in relatively small containers, yet produce good crops when moved into protected areas during freezing periods after budbreak begins. It is very precocious, typically blooming the same year as planted, if received dormant, even when relatively small. The flowers are very fragrant too.


    Bookmark   January 15, 2008 at 1:34PM
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alan haigh

I planted 4 varieties of Kolimitka and their range of ripening was no greater than the various argutas I grow. The one advantage of Koli was they are less rampant growers. Arguta need to be summer pruned several times to keep light on the spurs and fruit.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2008 at 5:50PM
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>>contrary to what you stated, I have read...

I have never stated anything about what you have read.

Such strong feelings. You sound angry at the species because it didn't perform for you, and angry at me because I like it.

Thanks for the tip about the risk to the blossoms in unstable climates; I'll make a note of it on my fruit pages.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2008 at 2:16PM
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alan haigh

No strong feelings just an intense desire for clarity. You stated that in some areas the change in seasons is more decisive so presumably Kolimitka wouldn't be coaxed to bud too early. I'm not sure if this is so, I think that all the cold areas of the US are prone to some unpredictability with spring frosts and I have read that in other parts of the world like northern Asia the change from winter to spring is definitive. That is the kind of climate Kolimitka comes from and where it does well. I assumed you were talking about parts of the U S.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2008 at 5:44PM
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Nobody mentioned arnonia. I haravested my first fruit this past summer and juiced them. It needs to be very much diluted and sweetened but is excellent added to tonic soda or lemonade. Very high in anti-oxidants and Trader Joe sells the juice at a fairly high price. Very popular in Europe. Gives a sort of generic berry taste to fruit drinks.
I'm extremely fond of my pineapple quince tree which is about 30 years old and has beautiful big pink flowers in spring, new foliage is downy and then gorgeous fruit in late fall. I cook the fruit with apples for a great tasting stewed fruit dish. Or cobbler. I planted it in a spot which is a bit soggy and moist though well drained - turns out that is what quince prefers. They make great jam or jelly if you are in to that kind of thing but I wouldn't try eating them raw. In Spain they are turned into a kind of candy which is eaten with cheese.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2008 at 7:21PM
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My pineapple quince tree does well also. Try straight quince sauce to use up more fruit--it freezes well.

The Trader Joe's aronia juice may need the diluting and sweetening treatments also; my bottle was very brackish.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2008 at 12:30AM
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My father grows pawpaws in Pennsylvania. He loves them. They need a frost to develop flavor.


    Bookmark   February 3, 2008 at 5:31PM
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Many thanks to all who replied. I'll be saving a copy of this thread for future reference.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2008 at 11:35PM
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nygardener(z6 New York)

How cold hardy are pawpaws? I'd like to plant a couple in a friend's zone 4-5 garden, or possibly here in zone 6 (the Catskills).

    Bookmark   August 29, 2008 at 8:19PM
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Since someone resurrected the thread, let me ask: why no one mentioned native plums, or shipova? Any variety worth having? I will be planting several fruit trees next spring.

I have jujube in MI, which is healthy but can not quite ripen before is too cold (that's OK, the squirrels get them), hardy kiwi (took a while to get the first fruit), red and black currant. I also have conventional pear, mulberry, and Concord grape, and supplement with melons and watermelons from the garden. My best unusual fruit are, by far, the Chinese chestnuts. Their taste and texture are excellent, and they are turning into awesome trees.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2008 at 9:45PM
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Yes, I reread the whole thing just now, it is an interesting thread. I had a few comments I wanted to make based upon both things I read above and personal experiences.

A couple of good annual fruiting plants which are pretty worthwhile, in my opinion: 1) Ground Cherries, Physallis pruinosa and P. peruviana. I grew them a few years back, and didn't really appreciate them fully. Now, I've learned just how delightful these little annual berries can be. I cooked some up the other morning as a topping for pancakes, it was excellent, sort of a pineapple-apricot flavor. Very produtive. The key to this one is making sure you use only the fully ripe, amber colored fruits, as the semi-ripe ones with a hint of green are still somewhat bitter with an unpleasant aftertaste, much like eating an unripe tomato. There are some threads going about this one either here on on the Vegetables forum. There are also a couple of good threads about this fruit on the IDigMyGarden forums.

2) Litchi Tomato, Solanum sisymbriifolium. I just tried this plant for the first time this year. It looks like a cross between a thistle and a potato on steroids, with big, thorny leaves and stems, and great big white, potato-like flowers. These grow into a red cherry-tomato sized fruit which emerges from a thorny husk. It tastes like a cross between a cherry tomato, a sour cherry, and a watermelon. Not extremely sweet, I was able to use it both in a savory salsa and sweetened into a jelly/jam. I am SO impressed with this plant, not just for its culinary use, but for its beauty and interest. The only drawback is it is rather vicious, much like thorny blackberries -- expect some pain during the harvest, and wear long sleeves, gloves, etc.

Aronia - had my first real harvest this year. I juiced them through my juicer, then boiled and strained out some excess pulp. While somewhat astringent, it has great flavor -- similar to straight cranberry juice in astringency, it is great when diluted with other juices, very fruity.

Cornelian Cherries -- I LOVE this fruit. Not very edible raw, too astringent, but they taste just like "Craisins" when dried, and like cranberry-cherry sauce when cooked and sweetened.

Hardy Prickly Pear -- fruits are SMALL, but very tasty, basically the same flavor as the kind sold in the grocery stores (Opuntia ficus-indica). I've found that they can be harvested with kitchen tongs, then poured out onto a fireproof surface and the spines ("Glochids") singed off wiht a blowtorch very easily, turning them a couple of times to make sure you get them all. Then, the fruit pops right out of the peel, and the hard seeds can be separated out with a food mill. A couple of quarts of the fruit, processed, yields enough for a small batch of jam, which has a watermelon-like flavor.

Japanese Wineberry -- this Rubus species is an invasive pest in some regions, but here in Michigan canes are pretty marginally hardy, but is fully root hardy. As a result, I don't get very many of the orange-red, extremely fragrant and delicious small raspberries this species produces, but they are extremely delicious.

I mentioned the Prickly Ash being used as Szechuan peppercorns -- I just harvested my big "crop" of about a cup of the berry/seed pods -- they taste just about like the ones from the store, and definitely make your lips and mouth go numb for a little while, but not in an unpleasant way. Flavor is best described as a lemon-pepper taste. Very worthwhile to grow if you enjoy Szechuan cooking. To edit what I stated above, way back in January, Forestfarm now has the plants in stock again for the true Szechuan peppercorn, but it won't survive in my area anyway, so I'm happy with my Z. americanum.

I also got a nice crop of fruit off of my 'Jan' and 'Joy' bush cherries a few weeks ago -- once again, this fruit raw has a bit of astringency, and sort of a cranberry-cherry flavor, VERY nice, pie quality, when cooked. Pretty productive for the size of the bush, yielding about two quarts each -- my bushes, which are about 6 or 7 years old, are about 3 feet tall by 3 feet wide, definitely "compact" -- it would take more bushes to get more of a yield -- they did all they could, branches were pretty well loaded, but the plants just aren't that big.

SE Michigan

    Bookmark   August 30, 2008 at 12:00AM
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A couple of questions:

-Would hardy pricklypear cactus (Opuntia humifusa/compressa) be the only hardy pricklypear to endure zone 6 winters?

-Would sweetshoot bamboo (Phyllostachys dulcis) be suitable for zone 6?

-Comment: Pawpaw, Asimina spp. (including Asimina triloba), contains the compounds associated with increased risk of atypical Parkinson's; you'd have to it is frequently enough, I would suppose.

-Comment: I believe that ginko nuts must be eaten in moderation - I remember reading some materials describing them as toxic to some extent. I wonder if making tea out of the leaves would be a good thing, however.

-I know Lucky has some varieties survive his zone 6 winters, but anyone have any varieties of Pomegranates survive zone 6, 6a or 5b? - and fruit?

-What are the best Amelanchier spp./Juneberries/Serviceberries w/regards to taste? I think that the only berries I absolutely loved must have been A. alnifolia - 5' thin suckered bushes with dark, sugar-sweet berries; the A. canadensis and A. canadensis x laevis I've tasted are not as good as what ever variety that happened to have been.

-Will American hazelnut/filbert & American beaked hazelnut hybridize with the European species?

-If I were able to obtain a true American Chestnut selected from a stand that showed great disease resistance, would the taste hold up to the Chinese and/or English varieties?

-In comparison to a straight D. virginiana or D. kaki, would there be any taste improvement in the hybridization between American x Asian persimmon?

-Would you think that a fully ripe Wild Mandrake/Mayapple would be at all toxic; or would it be risky if consumed in excess?

-What are cold-hardy, reliable varieties of Black Mulberry (M. nigra)? [non-hybrids]

-In zone 6b, my 'Brown Turkey' Fig never dies back to the ground; I do nothing to protect it.

-I purchased a grafted D. kaki 'Saijo' and a friend of mine showed me his orchard containing grafted Asian persimmons - the grafts reject after several years; he explained that if you had an American x Asian hybrid as the inter-connection between the D. virginiana rootstock and D. kaki scion, the graft would last indefinitely. I hope the tree will last, contrary to this - probably won't.

-Are the berries of native/American shrub-dogwoods and tree dogwoods (other then the toxic Cornus florida - Flowering Dogwood) really edible? C. sericea/stolon., C. alternifolia, etc.?

-Besides Black Oak, any other good oak nuts?

-I'll contribute a few I can think of here (edibles):
Salmonberry, Thimbleberry, 2 varieties of Ligonberries - American/European, Bearberries, Wild Wintergreen Berries, Berberries spp., (water lily and lotus/parts, arrowhead/parts, pickerelweed/parts, Acorus - sweetflag, not iris!), various man-made blackberry x raspberry hybrids, the man-made 'jostaberry' - ribes spp., a wide array of vaccinium spp. (blueberries, deerberries, bilberries, false huckleberries), Garden Huckleberry (not a huckleberry), varieties of cranberry, Akebia, Orange trifoliate, Crabapple spp., nuts: chinquapin, species of hazelnut/walnut/varieties of hickory (including pecans), forbs: daylily species, various flowers, Monkey Puzzle Pine, Pine Nut species, syrup from Walnut & Maple species, Prinsepia, Asparagus, Globe Artichoke, Jerusalem Artichoke, various greens, various man-made stone fruit hybrids, foxgrape (including 'Concord' & 'Neptune'), purple passionflower, Mountain Ash species, Aronia spp., Western Sandcherry, Buffaloberries, native Silverberries, Sala, Yuka spp., Magnolia virginiana for tea - leaves and culinary, chokecherry, wild black cherry, pin/fire cherry, American wild plum, Chickasaw plum, Beach plum, cloudberry/bakeapple berry, smooth & staghorn sumac, teas from birches, American larch, and others - be cautious, tall & stinging nettle tea, the species of Jujube, Streptopus amplexifolius - I forgot the name - I call it watermelon berry, but it's not the above mentioned Che/Melonberry which is a good one to have.
When you think about it, there really are only a few fruits out there: Apple (4 types), brown or green Pear, Cherry otherwise know as Bing or Yellow Cherry, Melon, Apricot, Nectarine, Orange, Grapefruit, Grape, Kiwi, Plum, and Pineapple - if you don't believe me, just go to the supermarket or your local cooperate sponsored fruit consumption advocacy materials. Well, they do have around 5 other rare ones: Starfruit, Date, Fig, and Fruit-roll-up Fruit.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2009 at 5:52AM
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I know this is an old discussion but I feel it's worth reviving. I grow clove currants which are similar to black currents in flavor on some of the varieties I grow and I love them straight off the bush.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2014 at 7:51AM
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Hermitian(USDA 10b)

Thanks, its a great thread I would have missed. Also, I'm jealous of all who can grow black and clove currants. Just not enough chill here.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2014 at 10:57AM
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