Saturday, August 13

A taste from the east

When I mentioned picking Japanese wineberries in an earlier post, many of you showed an interest in them and so I thought that I would devote a post just to them.

Rubus phoenicolasius or Japanese wineberry as you would guess from the name is native to Japan but also China and Korea.

It was original introduced to Europe and North America as an ornamental plant.


It has reddish stems and lime green leaves which are rather attractive.
The stems are actually green but covered in red hairs which give it the reddish look. The hairs are glandular which means they have glands at the top which in the case of the wineberry are sticky.
The stems also have a few thorns but they are nothing like as vicious or in the numbers worn by the tayberry and brambles.

We planted our wineberry back in 2011 when we were on the lookout for something a little usually and we spotted it on the Victoriana Nursery Gardens website.
To be honest it didn't really do very much in the first few years. I don't know whether it wasn't happy or maybe we didn't treat it well. It's described as invasive but it certainly wasn't living up to its name.

The clusters of flowers buds appear in late spring.
Like the stems the calyxes that protect the developing flower buds are covered with sticky hairs. The hairs on the stems and buds are defence mechanisms which entrap any would-be sucking bugs. 

When the flower buds open in late spring the calyx peels back to allow safe access to pollinators.
Once the flower has been pollinated the calyx closes to protect the developing fruit.
As the fruit develops the calyces reopen.
The fruits gradually turn from yelow to a deep red.
Once picked the berries leave an orange and white core behind which itself is quite attractive.
The small 'berries' like most of the rest of the plant are sticky which probably deters any birds from browsing them.

Japanese wineberries grow like a blackberry or tayberry and produce fruit on one year old canes so I will cut out all the canes that fruit this year and tie in the newly produced canes.
If you harvest enough berries they can be used in cooking like raspberries.

I have read all sorts of descriptions about the fruit such as 'strong raspberry flavour that pops with sherbet', 'juicier than a raspberry', 'raspberry with a hint of grape', 'sweet yet tart'. The list goes on. To experience the full flavour you need to leave the berries until they become a very deep dark red. (It's just as well that the birds aren't tempted by them). At this stage they have a pronounced raspberry flavour. Picked earlier they have a slight taste of wine. 

If you grow them what do you think they taste like?



Copyright: Original post from Our Plot at Green Lane Allotments http://glallotments.blogspot.co.uk/ author S Garrett

26 comments:

  1. I'm intrigued. And tempted to try one if I can find the space.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm sure you can find room is on your estate, Jessica.

      Delete
  2. Yes, I'd agree with the slight winey taste. I found mine in the "Free Stuff" place at the allotment site, and it didn't do anything at all for two or three years. In fact the first year it felt like a struggle just to keep it alive and I really wasn't sure that it would survive. But now it's doing brilliantly and it's absolutely covered in berries this year. The last time we went down to the plot we ate all the fruit there and then. They're so very pretty I always think they'd look nice on the top of a cake.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Maybe they take some time to settle in then, CJ. Ours is full of fruit this year too. I bet they would also look good on top of a cheesecake.

      Delete
  3. Great photos of the growing progress. Will definitely look out for a plant - thanks for the post!

    ReplyDelete
  4. At what stage will you be making the wine?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No plans for wine, Mark we prefer our fruit au naturel.

      Delete
  5. You've taken some marvelous photos of it--not sure I would try the plant, but very interesting info on it. I thought birds ate EVERYTHING!!
    :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This one definitely escapes the birds Sue. 🙂

      Delete
  6. They look very cute, definitely will try to get them from our nursery.
    You mentioned that they grow on one year canes like blackberries. There are blackberries that grow on one year canes? Here in Croatia all cultivated blackberries grow on 2 years old canes. Which can be a problem when deer gobble up young canes, like they did in my garden this year.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The blackberries fruit next year on canes the are produced this year, Leanan. Each year I cut out all canes after they have fruited and tie in the new canes which then fruit when the canes are a year old i.e. the following year so technically fruit in the canes second year. Maybe you are calling that fruiting on two year old canes?

      Delete
  7. I've had my Japanese wineberry for many years, and it has followed me from the old garden to the new one. A lovely plant - as you say, very ornamental, as well as edible! Hopefully this dry weather won't kill it, as it's currently in a pot awaiting a final position in the new garden.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Fingers crossed that your wineberry makes it, Emma.

      Delete
    2. It has! It is putting on new growth :)

      Delete
    3. Good news, Emma. I cut out all the old fruiting canes this week and tied in the new ones,

      Delete
  8. Lovely looking plant, interesting too :)

    ReplyDelete
  9. They do look good. I keep on meaning to plant one but am fast running out of space x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Space is always an issue isn't it, Jo.

      Delete
  10. I never heard or seen this berries! They really look like raspberries to me! If you don't inform, I will think it's raspberries! ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They are much smaller and much stickier than raspberries, Malar.

      Delete
  11. What a fascinating plant, the pics are brilliant, especially of those red hairs. Good to hear it's not too thorny!xxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not too thorny but after picking your hand need a good wash, Dina before you touch anything else.

      Delete
  12. Really interesting post Sue, didn't know anything about this fruit. so great to see all the pictures. Definitely one to think about. How much space do they take up Sue?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They will grow big of you let them, Annie. I have seem them growing up a wall to a fair height but we restrict ours and train the new shoots along wires.We restrict it to about a metres width of wire and keep it ad 'flat' as possible i.e don't allow canes ti reach out away from the wires.

      Delete

Thank you for visiting and leaving a comment - it is great to hear from you and know that there are people out there actually reading what I write! Come back soon.
(By the way any comments just to promote a commercial site, or any comments not directly linked to the theme of my blog, will be deleted)
I am getting quite a lot of spam. It isnot published and is just deleted. I have stopped sifting through it and just delete any that ends up in my spam folder in one go so I am sorry if one of your messages is deleted accidentally.
Comments to posts over five days old are all moderated.