Here is where you will find answers to most of the questions we are asked about Haskaps.
The scientific classification is
Species: L. Caerulea
Binomial name: Lonicera Caerulea
- The name. The name Haskap comes from the ancient Ainu people of Japan. It is recognized as one of the oldest known names given to this plant. It roughly translates to "many presents at the end of branches." The
variety that we grow is from the Hokkaido region of Japan. Some confuse this
variety with honeyberry. Honeyberry is a name coined by Jim Gilbert from One Green World nursery for his work with Russian
varieties of Blue Honeysuckle. The point to keep in mind
is that there are many different varieties of plants from the
same Genus and Species. Take apples for example, there are Granny Smiths, Gala, Honey Crisp, etc., each have unique and different
characteristics, but yet are all apples. This is why we use the name Haskap to identify our plants and not Honeyberries. As with all plants from the same species, there are many
similarities and some differences. Our focus is to not debate the
differences, but to describe our Haskaps as best we can.
- The plant. The Haskap has been known to live
40 years. How long it will remain productive is subject to many factors such as care, weather, disease, insects, etc., but the fact remains it will produce for
basically a lifetime. The plant grows very well in South Central Alaska. It will grow 4-5' wide and up to 5-6' tall. It does not sucker and has no thorns. The flowers can withstand some frost and the fruit will be ready to harvest by
the end of July to early August. The plant does well in pH ranges 6-7, but can also tolerate other pH's . It can withstand 40 below winters. It has survived winters with little snow cover. We have not noticed any remarkable disease or insect pressure.
- The fruit. The Haskap will begin to bear fruit during the second year. We have had some bear fruit the first year. By year 5, one can expect yields of 5-15 pounds. The
yield will depend on site, care, weather, etc., so that is why there is such a wide range. The fruit typically has an oblong or
tubular shape. Since we are trialing thousands of plants, we have seen all different sizes and shapes.
The fruit is a deep, dark blue color and usually about an inch long and as big around as your little finger. It has the skin texture of a grape and also the same "blush" as a grape. When ripe, the inside of the fruit will be a dark red. If green
inside, it is not ripe. The seeds are so small they are not noticeable. The flavor has been described as a combination of blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries. It is a multi-flavored fruit with sweetness, tart, tang
and a zing all in one. Seeds are so tiny you won't even notice them. Harvest for our area usually begins by
the first week of August.
- Haskap products. The fruit from the Haskap can be used just like most other berries. It is delicious fresh, makes great wines, jams, syrups, juices, pies, ice cream, dried and countless other ways. The Japanese have many value-added products made from this berry.
- Plant care. The Haskap should be grown on rich, well drained soil with a pH from
6-7. We grow ours on raised beds that are covered with a commercial grade of weed barrier. Plant spacing should be 8-10' apart. The Haskap requires two
varieties with different genes to pollinate. South Central Alaska seems to have plenty of native insect pollinators, but we also have bee hives to insure all of our berries have good insect pollination. Weed control and making sure watering needs are met will insure a good start for this plant. We use and recommend drip irrigation. The plant prefers full sun, but will also grow in partial sun areas.
- Health benefits.
The research done on the health benefits have shown that haskaps have 3 times the anti-oxidants of blueberries! The
Japanese have long associated this fruit with long life and good health. More and more research is being conducted on the health and
nutritional benefits of this fruit. It is indeed a super berry.
- Plant Varieties. Visit this
link to view our Haskap plant selections. All of our haskaps are Trademarked Registered and are propagation prohibited.
- Plant pictures. Visit our photo albums for some pictures of our
haskaps. You will find the photo albums on our main menu.