Honey berry, maizeere

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The honeyberry (Lonicera kamtschatica) is also known as Maiberere or blue honey berry and comes from the East Siberian Kamchatka Peninsula. The wild fruit belongs to the family of the honeysuckle family (Caprifoliaceae) and is related to the local red honeysuckle (Lonicera xylosteum). In contrast to most ornamental trees of this genus, however, the fruits of the honeyberry are edible. They are oval to cylindrical, 1 to 1.5 inches long and light to black blue. The fruits of the honey berries are very similar to those of the blueberry. They taste sweet but a little less aromatic. But they contain just as much vitamin C.
The plant - about a meter high, upright growing, richly branched, deciduous shrub - is robust and very hardy. The young greenish shoots bear opposite, egg-shaped leaves of four to ten centimeters in length. Already in March, the cream-white flowers open and at the latest in May, often already at the end of April, the first fruits are ripe - hence the name Maiberere. The short development time from flowering to fruit maturity is an adaptation to the short growing season of their cold home - and thus the honey berry is the earliest wild fruit.
Honey berries can be planted in very cold locations with unfavorable soil as a substitute for blueberries in cool locations.

Location and ground

The honey berry has low demands on the soil. It tolerates both peaty and loamy soils and a partially shaded to sunny spot. Well, the plant thrives between spindle trees or near the rear. However, like other berry bushes, the honey berry is grateful for a good supply of humus - even before planting.

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The best planting time is the autumn, because the plants are well rooted already in the spring and bring with a little luck already the first yields. Since honey berries grow relatively slowly and upright, they can be planted at a distance of 1.25 to 1.50 meters. Although the honey berry is self-fertile, but you harvest significantly more if you plant two different varieties. Similar to currants or gooseberries, you can also cultivate the seedlings in a single-seeded manner like spindle trees with a planting distance of 40 to 50 centimeters on tension wires or rods.
You should cut the honey berry similar to currants: once a year, preferably right after the harvest, old, old-growth shoots are removed near the ground. For the old fruit shoots cut off, the corresponding number of young vigorous ground shoots are drawn, all the surplus ones are also removed. A shrub should consist of a maximum of ten to twelve shoots.

Further care

The fertilizer is based on that of currants. You should provide the shrubs well with compost before sprouting and then fertilize them again in April or May with distillate. A mulch cover made of rotten leaves or bark humus is also useful. Additional watering needs maize berries only in very dry summers. Irrigation is usually required until fruit ripeness.

Harvest and recovery

Due to the short growing season, the first fruits are ripe at the latest in May, clearly before currants and gooseberries. However, they can not expect mass yield from the maize, as the fruits are very small and not easy to pick. When used: eat quickly, because the fruits are not durable for too long.

Blossom of the honeyberry

The flowers of honeyberry already open in March


In general, there are hardly any differences in the different honey berry varieties 'Mailon', 'Maistar', 'Morena' and 'Fialka', as variety breeding is still in its infancy. All are mildly sweetish in the taste and also the size hardly varies. 'Morena' and 'Fialka' are a bit bigger and heavier. While a shrub of the variety 'Morena' can yield up to three kilos, 'Mailon' is about two kilos.

Pests and diseases

The honey berry is commonly considered to be robust against diseases and pests. You should only pay attention to frost and bird damage. Here protection nets or fleeces can protect the fruits from ripening. Occasionally, mildew can occur, which can be combated after harvest if necessary with environmentally friendly network sulfur.

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