Unripe fruit of the Cherry Prinsepia
Description and site preference
Type and size – spiny shrub, 4-6 feet
Hardiness zone – 2-5
Exposure – full sun
Soil – variable
Drainage – moderate to well-drained
Years to harvest – not determined
Maintenance – not determined
Life of planting – not determined
Machine harvest potential – not determined
Suitable markets – not determined
Nutritional highlights – unknown
Adaptability – high
Pest issues – some leaf spotting observed
Invasive potential – unknown
Environmental benefits – unknown
Shared management – not evaluated
Shared equipment – not evaluated
Shared processing – not evaluated
Co-marketing – not evaluated
Integration potential – not evaluated
History and background
Cherry prinsepia is a dense, spiny shrub is 4 to 6 feet tall at maturity, extremely cold hardy and drought tolerant. Native to Manchuria, cherry prinsepia is used as a shelterbelt planting on the Canadian prairies. Carandale had very little information about this fruit type, but a description in One Green World’s catalog said it had “tasty, cherry-like, juicy purple fruits that were good for eating, jams and preserves.” Carandale planted it in 2003 to observe its potential as a component of a regional food system. Highly pigmented fruits tend to have high antioxidant activity because of the anthocyanids associated with pigmentation.
Observations at Carandale Farm
- It was hardy and grew well at the test site.
- Cherry prinsepia was the first fruit plant to break dormancy in the spring. Despite this, the leaves and flowers went through hard freezes without apparent damage.
- It started bearing fruit in 2006.
- Fruit quality was marginal at best.
- Because of the possibility of invasiveness as a hardy, non-native plant, cherry prinsepia was removed from the test plot in 2007.
Cherry prinsepia is no longer listed in the One Green World catalog as of March 2013. Carandale did not consider this plant worthy of further consideration. They were unsure if it would be an invasive threat in their environment, and they did not want to take the chance of birds and animals spreading seeds.
The plants in the Carandale test plot originated from the Vladivostok Station in Russia. Carandale is not aware of any named cultivars.