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Hippophae Rhamnoides - Sea Buckthorn

 
Tom DeCoste
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I am blogging about seaberry plants and would like to hear your experiences. I would especially like to know if there are any sea buckthorn orchards/commercial production of fruit currently in the United States.

(recent excerpt from blog)
DO I HAVE A MALE OR FEMALE PLANT?
the answer is both simple and complex. Hippophae Rhamnoides or Sea Buckthorn is dioecious, which means the plant are either male or female. Determining what you have is easiest if you either buy a pre-sexed plant which was propagated from cuttings from an established, sex certain mature plant. More difficult is when a plant has not reached the age of maturity and has not yet flowered or produced fruit. This can take 3-5 years from seed. Many of my seedling plants are entering their 3rd year and I hope to show the earliest possible indications whether that be the previous fall's buds, the blossoms, or the formation of fruit.
Seaberry / Seabuckthorn
 
Tyler Ludens
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I didn't find Sea Buckthorn/Sea Berry to be drought tolerant in my climate. Mine died.

 
Tom DeCoste
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Tyler Ludens wrote:I didn't find Sea Buckthorn/Sea Berry to be drought tolerant in my climate. Mine died.


I have done a little looking into the upper limits of temperature for these plants and the information is not readily available. There is no doubt they can take the cold, but the heat and lack of a significant cold dormant period is questionable. Having said that, I did come across a recommendation of using shade cloth in the summer months for Sea Buckthorn from someone growing them in Austin.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Mine were in full sun so if I ever try them again it will be in part shade.

 
Rick Roman
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My Sea Buckthorns plants died as well. Not sure why. This year I will be starting some from seed.

I found this helpful - Sea Buckthorn Production Guide (Canadian) http://seabuckthorn.com/sbtprodguide.pdf
 
Angelika Maier
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I have grown some from seed and I find that they are reasonably drought tolerant. I have planted some out and stilll some in pots and they often were quite dry.
Apparently you can sex them according to how new growth looks, but I can't. I doubt that there are many commercial plantings because of the spines.
 
Tom DeCoste
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Angelika Maier wrote:I have grown some from seed and I find that they are reasonably drought tolerant. I have planted some out and stilll some in pots and they often were quite dry.
Apparently you can sex them according to how new growth looks, but I can't. I doubt that there are many commercial plantings because of the spines.

That has been my experience as well, when they are in the initial flats or have established themselves in the ground. Transplanting seems to be a shock to the roots of small seedlings and they need some watering as needed until established. You are right about the thorns on most varieties. There is a new Canadian variety, Autumn Glow which is described as having soft and sparse thorns. I cannot find a supplier which will have them until next year. There is now massive commercial production in China, India, and to a lesser extent the Himalayas, Germany, Greece, and other places. Harvesting techniques vary and are developing with new technologies. I could go on but will be posting a few blog entries soon about just that subject. The subject is ripe for innovation. Here is one person's great idea
 
Angelika Maier
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In Australia this plant is not sold in nurseries so you have to raise it from seeds. I still have half the packet left over and have really enough plants.
Have you ever tasted the berry?
 
Tom DeCoste
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Angelika Maier wrote:In Australia this plant is not sold in nurseries so you have to raise it from seeds. I still have half the packet left over and have really enough plants.
Have you ever tasted the berry?

I am still waiting for my plants to produce their first fruit, so I have not tasted a fresh berry yet. I have and do keep seabuckthorn juice in the house all the time. It is available to me locally at Whole Foods Market and many places on the internet. It is often sold as a supplement and is pricey but good. Genesis Today is a company who markets either 16 or 32oz. bottles. Have a post which has a cross section of recipes you may want to review. It is..... http://seaberry-hippophaerhamnoides.blogspot.com/2012/12/cooking-with-seabuckthorn-sea-berries.html Most often I add some seaberry juice and a bit of orange juice to seltzer water and sweeten it a bit. Very refreshing and probably pretty good for you.
--Tom
 
Kota Dubois
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Neat video and idea for harvesting but talk about tedious. The problem with these guys is that the stem and seed hold onto the plant while the fruit slides off in a juicy mess.

The easiest way I've found is to cut the branch off and freeze it. Then the berries can be stripped off in one pass of your hand. If you are somewhere like me where we get a fairly reliable early freeze, they can be stripped off the whole bush in no time flat, without cutting the branches at all.
 
Tom DeCoste
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There has been a liveley discussion on the possible invasive attributes of Hippophae Rhamnoides on http://www.permies.com/t/13986/plants/Seaberries-Sea-Buckthorn-Pacific-NW . Since the issue is more generalized, the discussion can continue here.

My email to Dr. Catling:

Dear Sir,
I hope this e-mail finds you and you have a moment to respond. Regarding "The problem of invading alien trees and shrubs: some observations in Ontario and a Canadian checklist. Canadian Field-Naturalist 111: 338-342": (I have been unable to find a copy to review myself) It is referenced often including on the Botananical Electronic Network http://www.ou.edu/cas/botany-micro/ben/ben345.html and in a Weed of the Week article at http://www.rdosmaps.bc.ca/min_bylaws/NewAndEvents/Press_Releases/2006/Invasive_shrubs_Herald_Sep20.pdf (it references the BEN article) as support for the assertions that Hippophae Rhamnoides is extremely invasive. I suspect some of this is confusion with Rhamnus cathartica both of which share "buckthorn" in their common names. I have great interest in this plant and would be very grateful if you could direct me to a copy of your work or let me know if your work in "The problem of invading alien trees and shrubs: some observations in Ontario and a Canadian checklist. Canadian Field-Naturalist 111: 338-342" included information on Sea Buckthorn and its invasive attributes?
Thank You very much,
Tom DeCoste
{note: I did since find the Canadian Field Naturalist article - http://ia700609.us.archive.org/24/items/canadianfieldn1111997otta/canadianfieldn1111997otta.pdf }

Response from Dr. Catling's office:

Dear Mr. DeCoste,

In respond to your information request of Sea Buckthorn and its invasive attributes, Dr. Catling has requested that we send the published article. Please see the attached article page 77.

Sincerely,
Gisele

The article is attached. The entire article is interesting and is excellent discussion of the availability of information etc. I look forward to drilling down into the sources cited in the article to learn even more.


Filename: Hippophae rhamnoides.pdf
Description: Hippophae rhamnoides.pdf
File size: 3489 Kbytes
[Download Hippophae rhamnoides.pdf] Download Attachment
 
Kari Gunnlaugsson
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Tom, thanks for switching to this more general thread, and good job on getting some of the latest literature.

If I may briefly sum up the paper? It is more about evaluating a methodology for gathering information about economically significant plants, but through the process they do conclude:

"We found that, although widely planted in Canada for many decades, sea buckthorn
has escaped only in local regions of southern Alberta. This suggests a limited ability to
become a serious invasive. However, the taxonomic complexity of the group (Swenson
and Bartish 2003) and the possibility of the different taxa having differing capabilities to
be invasive in Canada indicate a need for more study. Scotch broom also has been widely
introduced in Canada over a long period but has become a serious problem only in
southwestern British Columbia. This might seem to suggest that it need not be a concern
elsewhere. However, climate warming and development or introduction of adapted
genotypes could be a problem...."

So it sounds like the main area where sea buckthorn is currently behaving like an invasive is right in my backyard Which would explain why my calls for caution have been more strident than other voices we've heard. What you see happening around you takes on a real urgency, and I think parts of my local landscape are going to become casualties of this plant.

If it can be used in most areas without threatening ecosystems, I think that's great news. I'll still be avoiding planting it where I am. As this sort of thing can brew slowly, it wouldn't hurt if we all kept a bit of an eye on it in our own backyards, especially as the climate changes.

It would be nice if we had more consistent national reporting and standards for invasiveness, and the information was easier to get at. Thanks again for the digging, Tom...

p.s. I still don't feel like there has been any confusion due to the similar common names...just that the conditions under which the plant takes on invasive characteristics are more localized. Both sea and european buckthorns seem to be invasive in some places and benign in others.



 
Devon Olsen
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it seems like there might be named varieties of this plant as well, i was searching for sources for them and the engine i use, pulled up Hippophae Rhamnoides by itself as well as quite a few varieties... heres the link to my results upon searching for it (these are supposedly all available in the US btw: http://plantinfo.umn.edu/sources/scientificsearch_results.asp
 
Tom DeCoste
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it seems like there might be named varieties of this plant as well, i was searching for sources for them and the engine i use, pulled up Hippophae Rhamnoides by itself as well as quite a few varieties... heres the link to my results upon searching for it (these are supposedly all available in the US btw:

That is a great search engine. Here is another link to it Plant Information Online
 
Tom DeCoste
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Hi Kari,
I agree it is a plant to be watched and I will be documenting my experiment experiences on the blog.

I received a response from Lisa Scott, the person who wrote the "Weed of the Week" article. This is what she said:
Hi Tom,

Thanks for your interest in this species. I certainly think that its a species you may wish to discuss with Paul Catling, as he seems to be very familiar with this plant. Much of my brief comment on Sea Buckthorn was based on the BEN article. I was contacted by Paul about two years ago now, when he was doing further research on the distribution of this species in Canada, and I’m not sure of his final results.

I would certainly be interested to follow up with Paul with regards to the 2004 Canadian Botanical Association's second symposium on invasive alien plants in Canada, when Sea Buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides) was listed as the 15th highest priority invasive species. There must have been some basis to this?? I see that CBA’s online information only goes back to 2006. Would be great to see the notes from this symposium.

Please let me know if you gather more info, and I will do the same.

thanks
Lisa
********************
Note our NEW name, email and website address
Lisa Scott, Coordinator
Okanagan and Similkameen Invasive Species Society (OASISS)

http://www.oasiss.ca

I have sent her the communication I received from Dr. Catling and Gisele Mitrow. (still trying to find 2004 Canadian Botanical Association's second symposium on invasive alien plants in Canada)
Similar to what you said, it seems one size does not fit all regarding the plants ability to spread. Even though I am a huge fan of Sea Buckthorn, I do promise to be open minded to the latest information I can find. When I was searching for plant which might be especially well suited at my Maine location, sea buckthorn was ideal. The information on the internet was not much different than it is now--very limited. I have found some things which are commonly attributed to the plant, like "relatively few pests and diseases" was not true in my case. Ironically the pests which nearly wiped out my plants (many did die) are exotic/alien species. The ones I can add to the list are June Bugs and Winter Moths.

I am working on consolidating as much research as I can to its own page on the blog. I've got a long way to go. I am trying to limit it to scholarly articles with very little exception. I also am not filtering the stuff I find to only articles with a silver lining. If you wish to see what I have so far - Research
 
Tom DeCoste
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Seabuckthorn Male Flowers
I just took these photos this morning of a Male Seabuckthorn Flower in full bloom. There aren't too many out there, so I hope they are interesting and informative.


more on my blog if you are interested. http://seaberry-hippophaerhamnoides.blogspot.com/
 
Andy Cook
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I'm late to the party here . . .I spent three years in Mongolia, where seabuckthorn is widely used. While at a friends house during Tsgaansaar his grandmmother brought a jar containing a juice from fermented berries. I thought it was quite nice. Somewhat sweet with a slight "fermenty" taste and refreshing.

I read somewhere the juice or capsules (don't remember which) was given to Russian soldiers working on Chernobyl to help with radiation exposure.

We will be using it as a hedge plant due to its lovely thorns, if we can get it to grow.
 
Tom DeCoste
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Do you have an idea how they fermented the berry? I see online some recipes for wine-like preparations, was that what it was like? Thanks
 
Andy Cook
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Tom DeCoste wrote:Do you have an idea how they fermented the berry? I see online some recipes for wine-like preparations, was that what it was like? Thanks


I asked and as far as I could understand it was simply water, a little sugar, and berries and some leaves in a jar that had a lid screwed on it. Then put in a cool dark place for "awhile". Language was a bit of a barrier. . . . In a 1 liter jar I would estimate a 1/4 cup of berries and 4-5 leaves. Natural yeasts do the rest.


The Mongolians keep most everything very simple. A result of a nomadic culture in a harsh environment.

 
Tom DeCoste
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Foxgreen Farm has seeds and plants for sale at very reasonable prices. The plants are 2yr seedlings 18'-36' and are not yet determined to be one sex or the other. At $8.50/plant post-paid, it is worth buying a few and the chances of getting male and female plants are pretty good. http://seaberry-hippophaerhamnoides.blogspot.com/ The seed and plant sale links are on the right hand side of the page.
 
Judith Browning
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This is a wonderful thread...very helpful. I am just now planting into pots the sprouted seeds from the bag of damp sand I have had in the refrigerator since the middle of January. Richter's said three months at 40 degrees but a few began sprouting a couple weeks ago. I did not know they were either male or female. i wonder how many I should plant in order to have enough fruiting females. i had thought I would be giving away single plants also but now
 
Rebecca Norman
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Seabuckthorn is native here, and I would agree that it is invasive and quite drought tolerant, in this extraordinarily dry climate. It seems to be able to reach down a little deeper for groundwater than other things around here, so it grows not only along the streams, but further away from the streams than other trees and shrubs. It spreads by runner roots rather aggressively, and sprouts back vigorously when you cut it down. I hack it out with a shovel from places where it is a becoming a nuisance, but I really have to do it annually or twice a year to make a difference.

The thorns are some of the nastiest I've worked among, able to pierce your foot through the sole of a shoe. I resent it most when it grows near our volleyball court.

We harvest berries in September by going out before the sun hits them in the early morning, laying tarps under, and whacking the bushes with a big stick. Then you have to sort the thorns and leaves and sticks out. When you wash the berries in a bucket, many of the sticks and leaves float off.

We make juice fresh by adding heaps of sugar, and can some in bottles. We also dry the berries whole and can make juice later by soaking them and adding sugar.

They don't have really a particular flavor, just extremely sour and slightly bitter. Refreshing.
 
Randy Grant Heacox
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hey does anyone know what variety of sea buckthorn is tastiest? what are your favorites? I see alot of comments from people who bought some plants a few years ago... what are your results?
 
Tom DeCoste
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Just an update for 2015: http://jiovi.com/plants.html The prices are less this year
 
Cj Sloane
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I'm pretty sure I planted these in the spring of 2012. I planted 10, 6 survived and 2 of those are female. They started to put out new shrubs so I can see how they would form a thicket. This was an unimproved variety and the fruit seems to be about a third of the size of improved varieties.

This is the first year we have got any fruit. They are tart and hard to pick because the ripe ones seem to squish instead of pull off the plant. That might not matter if you picked into a clean jar since you will want to crush them anyway to get the juice/pulp out of them.

The sheep did nibble at the leaves a bit when I let them have access in the spring.

 
Lance Kleckner
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Today was the first day I tried some of my seedlings, thought they would taste bad, but I didn't mind them, but I did mind that the size is small and hard to pick. Also didn't realize they ripen this early, was thinking later in fall, so a lot of the berries had already been lost to swd.

Some of the seedlings are suckering all over now, the tallest bushes are probably 10' or more, I transplanted some suckers to another place and they did well for a year or two until a grasshopper plague killed them last year. I had a couple cultivars that didn't do much in the spot I had them planted and they ended up dying a few years back. I planted out another cultivar this spring, hope I have better luck.
 
Angelika Maier
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CJ your picture is what it is: tiny! I had some on my seedling bushes last year, simply too tiny to pick! If there would be any cultivars with bigger berries in Australia I would probably buy them, but on the long run Iguess I'll rip these bushes out.
 
Cj Sloane
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I'm reluctant to rip out a productive nitrogen fixer. I'll be keeping an eye on these. Maybe my poultry will eat the berries. If so I'd feel more comfortable ripping out the Japanese Barberry which has berries birds like and is thorny to provide a protective shelter for birds.
 
Troy Rhodes
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Mine yielded for the first time this year (southern michigan). The soil is pretty depleted. The last couple winters have been quit cold. Bushes still look fine.

The fruit is pleasant and tart and small. Imagine the least sour lemon you ever had--that's the flavor.

 
Angelika Maier
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How small is small? In a climate were you can't grow lemons it's not all that bad having sour fruits!
 
Troy Rhodes
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pea sized.

 
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