Unusual & Old Fashioned Fruit Trees

Josta Berry - Ribes Nidigrolaria.


The Josta Berry is an unlikely cross originating from Germany and was first introduced in 1977. There are several varieties in existence, but they are very uncommon here in the UK, which is surprising given the plants potential. Crossing a Gooseberry and Black-current was certainly a strange idea, but it has resulted in a hardy plant that will withstand temperatures down to –40 degrees. This long-lived cross is also fast growing, up to 6 feet, and furthermore disease resistance has been bred into it against things like Rust and Mildew.

As the bushes are so vigorous they will need pruning into shape every year and it is advisable to “Open up the centre” of each bush to allow proper growth and development of fruit. Although the Josta Berry is very hardy it does flower early in the Spring so needs planting in a sheltered spot away from cold winds simply to protect its blossom otherwise it could result in no fruit.

Josta Berry bushes are self fertile, that is to say that it is not necessary to have more than one bush for pollination to occur. After pollination and the berries have developed and ripened, you start picking them, and another bonus over its Gooseberry parent becomes apparent, that is, Jostas don’t have the thorns of the Gooseberry, albeit an occasional one.

Josta berries are large like a Gooseberry, but have the rich, black sweetness of a Black-current and like a Black-current the big juicy berries are full of goodness, especially vitamin C and excellent for pie making as well as making jams.

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