Category Archives: Honeyberry, Haskap (Loniera)

Haskap or honeyberry or blue honeysuckle?

This circumpolar plant has one scientific name, Lonicera caerulea, but as common names go, there are several things to call this hardy shrub that bears tasty blue fruit. According to University of Saskatchewan, the breakdown of common names is as follows:

Haskap – for L. caerulea of Japanese descent. There are several iterations of this name, including Hascap and Haskapa. One account attributes the name Haskap as being a modification of hashikahpu, the Japanese word for the fruits.

Blue honeysuckle – translation of the Russian name for L. caerulea. Russian varieties tend to flower earlier than Japanese varieties.

Honeyberry – a name coined by Jim Gilbert of One Green Earth nursery in Oregon.

This website (haskapa.com) has the most complete origin information that I have seen so far, as well as this write-up from Dr. Bob Bors at University of Saskatchewan.

Haskap plants – how many do you need for pollination?

Haskaps (AKA honeyberries) are hardy plants with delicious fruit – all Alaskan’s should be growing these plants in their garden!

Most haskap varieties are considered self-incompatible, meaning more than one plant is necessary to get substantial fruit set. But it is not just a simple math equation. Certain varieties are too similar genetically and will not be able to pollinate one another. And certain varieties bloom early or late, so one must consider bloom time of specific varieties.

So how many do you need? According to the University of Saskatchewan, leaders in haskap breeding for commercial and garden applications, one pollinating plant is needed for every five plants. Other sources claim planting a pollinator plant for every 2-4 plants is adequate, while others advocate planting 2 or more varieties in the same plot. As you can see, there is some disagreement in this area, but the common thread is that more than one variety is necessary to get productive fruit set! This is a true case of more is better, and isn’t it nice to be able to justify those extra berry shrubs in your cart? And of course, insects are necessary in this process to get pollen between plants.

Learn more about haskap pollination here:

University of Saskatchewan haskap page-see the table at the bottom of the page with variety compatibility information

Honeyberry USA

Work with haskaps

Others doing some work with Haskap Haskaps

Honeyberry, haskap plant sources

Honeyberries, aka haskap, are easy to grow in the interior.  Two good sources:

Tanana Valley Farmer’s market next year–track down Larry Duffy in the spring.  He has a great selection, and knows which ones to grow in combination for pollination.

Fedco Trees, out of Maine.  You must order between January and March (I think–there is a cut-off in mid spring when they will not accept any more orders).  You can choose your ship date (I usually choose the first week of May) http://fedcoseeds.com/trees/

FYI, St. Lawrence Nursery in northern NY is under new management, and has a limited offering next year.  They will likely not be selling their dwarf sour cherries or honeyberries.

Honeyberries

Growing honeyberries in Fairbanks