Sandra Berry?

tmtmom(lehigh co. pa.)December 13, 2005

I just received Nourse Farms' catalog, and it's new offering of "Sandra Berry Vine", or "Five Flavor Fruit" piqued my interest. It's described as a pest-free winter-hardy fruiting herb; it's climbing Magnolia vine has beautiful foliage and flowers, it's berries are edible and a tea can be brewed from the bark. If anyone has experience with this would they please share?!

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chills71(Zone 6b Mi)

This is the description of your plant from Burnt Ridge Nursery.

CHINESE MAGNOLIA VINE- (Schinzandra chinensis) Shade tolerant vine with small, magnolia like fragrant white flowers, followed by decorative scarlet berries in 6 inch long clusters. The pleasantly acid fruits are eaten fresh, dried, made into juice and mixed with hardy kiwi fruit. High in trace elements and vitamin C. Leaves, when used as a tea, tastes like green tea with lemon. Leaves and young stems also steamed as a vegetable. High in essential oils and shizandrin. Makes a healthful tonic used for allergic skin conditions. Zone 4-9.

Supposedly it can take a little shade and needs a pollenator (some plants are male and some are female) there does exist a self-fertile variety called Eastern Prince (available from Burnt Ridge and One Green World...Both nurseries are excellent even if you're just looking for ideas. If you're looking for unusuals, check out these two nurseries...)'

I've considered Magnolia Vine, but I think the self-fertile variety is a better bet as the plants reportedly get 15-25 feet at maturity and having a couple of those to ensure pollenation seems a little much.


    Bookmark   December 17, 2005 at 9:20PM
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francis_eric(5 Illinois)

How much are they If you know and do you know what that juice tastes like?Would you mind showing us a link or nursery that sells them.Thanks

    Bookmark   December 19, 2005 at 10:28AM
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chills71(Zone 6b Mi)

Burnt Ridge Nursery has the best price on the self-fertile Eastern Prince, though it is available from One Green World and Raintree as well

I, unfortunately, have no direct experience with the fruit or the plant itself.


Here is a link that might be useful: Burnt Ridge Nursery

    Bookmark   December 19, 2005 at 10:40PM
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tmtmom(lehigh co. pa.)

Chills, thanks for the information and the link to Burnt Ridge; I wasted no time putting in a request for a catalog! My Raintree and One Green World haven't arrived yet, but I'll compare notes when they do. It sounds like an attractive vine even if I you never use the fruit, and shade-tolerant fruiting plants are hard to come by. The height may not need to be an issue unless you're really pressed for space- I imagine it could be trained horizontally, along the top of a fence, rather than letting it climb 15-25 high. Would make picking the berries easier too! I think it's worth looking into, and maybe adding to my ever-growing wishlist!

    Bookmark   December 20, 2005 at 6:57PM
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I bought one from jung for 12.95 earlier this spring, but some animal dug it up when it was in 80's in the summer, so its life is in question. I guess I'll probably have to rebuy it and keep it in the backyard nursery.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2005 at 7:52PM
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tmtmom(lehigh co. pa.)

My Jung's just arrived today! They carry the self-fruitful Eastern Prince variety; their description says 10-12', which sounds more manageable than 15-25' (though maybe that's their Wisconsin height- in a warmer zone it's growth might go wild!)......

    Bookmark   December 21, 2005 at 5:29PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Several Schisandra species seen growning in Seattle (Washington Park Arboretum) and Vancouver (UBC Botanical Garden) have resembled Actinidia arguta in appearance and vigor, except for an S. rubrifolia I am growing which has less horsepower--which I think is typical for this particular one. After perhaps several years it added only a few yards, whereas I have seen other species covering sometimes half or more of host trees maybe 50' high.

    Bookmark   December 25, 2005 at 7:34PM
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bonsaist(Z6/ Bethlehem, Pa)

tmtmom, I live in lehigh county also,... I was also looking into sandra berry. I hope this vine works for you... I live in Bethlehem.
I'm trying to grow other vines such as passiflora incarnata, and hardy kiwi. They all need full sun.. I believe I read a discribtion that it's a shade tolerant. I wonder if anyone successfully grown it in shade.


    Bookmark   December 26, 2005 at 12:16PM
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chills71(Zone 6b Mi)


Check out Burnt Ridge for the Sandra berry (magnolia vine)

I've read that it is shade tolerant, but that it fruits better with more sun. The plants are not generally self-fruitful, but there is a self-fruitful variety...

I'm ordering one this year myself.


    Bookmark   December 30, 2005 at 3:52PM
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sunshine_amy(z5 - Western MA)

I can tell you a bit about Sandra berry, it's one of my favorite juices! It tastes and looks a lot like cranberry juice, but is naturally a bit sweeter. Delicious!

One place you can try it, and may get some questions answered, is at a restaurant in Amherst, MA called Amherst Chinese Food, they grow this berry on their organic farm, and serve their own Sandra Berry juice. They have a little write up about it in their restaurant, which says that it's considered very healthy in China, because it embodies "the 5 tastes" (sweet, sour, bitter, ..whatever the other two are). I think I recall it saying it takes 5 years to get plants established enough for a good berry harvest.

Nourse farms is a farm in Whately, MA. This is the same town that Amherst Chinese Food has their organic farm (Chang Farm?), and most likely Nourse grows the same variety of Sandra Berry; probably meeting local demand for this yummy berry that has been made known and popular by the restaurant.

Here is a link that might be useful: Amherst Chinese Food

    Bookmark   February 27, 2006 at 9:38PM
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sunshine_amy(z5 - Western MA)

I should mention, if you ever travel out to the restaurant to try this juice, you may want to call first. They often run out of the juice late in the season. Excellent restaurant, BTW, worth a visit! Their Hunan Crispy Fish is out of this world. ;)

    Bookmark   February 27, 2006 at 9:40PM
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chervil2(z5 MA)

I agree with sunshine amy that Amherst Chinese Food is a great restaurant for healthy Chinese food. I have grown a self-fruitful Eastern Prince variety for a few years now and have a nice annual crop of fruit. I love the vine and the berries.


    Bookmark   March 3, 2006 at 8:35PM
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Old thread, new information. I recently read an article that mentioned a direct relationship between Chang Farm and Nourse. Chang actually supplies the Sandraberry plants to Nourse. So yes, same variety.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2007 at 2:16PM
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teresa_b(z6 MO)

For those of you that tried the Sandra Berry, are you happy with this plant? And, does a partially shaded location work? Is it ornamental enough to keep close to the house?



    Bookmark   May 20, 2008 at 2:08PM
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Sandra Berry propagation: I have a sandra berry plant that i picked up a couple years ago. I tried to propagate it using soft, semi soft, and hardwood cuttings. none worked. I tried to air layer also and it did not work. this year 3 new plants came up from the roots and i repotted them. I put the plant in my greenhouse 1-30-2010 and it has grown quite a lot. it flowered and now you can see fruit set on it. it is a beautiful plant and i can not wait to taste the fruit.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2010 at 12:11PM
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