Zone
 
emphyllocalyx: 3a (2)
'kuril-type': 2
kamtschatica: 1
Pollination
  self-sterile, sibling incompatibility
Blooms
 
emphyllocalyx: early (hardy)
'kuril-type': early (hardy), slightly later than emphyllocalyx
kamtschatica: very early (hardy)
(in comparison to other species)
Chill Hours
  800 - 1200
pH
  5 to 7 (preferred), 4.5 to 8 (acceptable), up to 8.5 (tolerable)
Yield
  light crop as soon as next year (clone)
Tolerant
  fairly wet soils

Native Range and Climate



Japanese honeyberries (Lonicera caerulea var emphyllocalyx) are native to Hokkaido (northern Japan) and the Kuril islands.  Rainfall varies between 2" to 6" per month during the grow season.  The average peak temperature of the year is around 79F (26.1C) on most of Hokkaido but can be as low as 60F (15.6C) on the Kuril islands.  'Haskap' is a term used to specifically refer to the Japanese honeyberry.[1]

Russian honeyberries (Lonicera caerulea var kamtschatica) are native to Kamchatka and other nearby federal subjects of Russia.  Rainfall varies between 1" to 3.5" per month during the grow season.  The average peak temperature of the year resides between 63F (17.2C) to 73F (22.8C). 

Honeyberry flowers can survive temperatures between 17F (-8.3C)[1] and 19F (-7.2C).  Early blooming honeyberries (e.g.  kamtschatica) cannot be grown in regions that regularly experience above freezing temperatures for roughly a week or more during the winter.  That is warm enough to wake them up from dormancy.


Pests



There does not appear to be any significant pests other than birds in the United States.  There is a stem borer that can kill branches, but there is very little information about it.  I believe it is the species Oberea pupillata, which is native to Europe.  I have seen no mention of it in the United States.  There are other longhorned beetle species native to the US, but I do not know of any that feed on honeyberry or other honeysuckle plants.  There is, however, a very brief report of borers in Ontario, Canada by their ministry of agriculture.


Disease



The most common disease to affect honeyberries in the US is powdery mildew, but sunburn can also be a problem[2].  Mildew infected bushes may cause the leaves to curl, exposing the underside to the sun and making them more likely to burn[2].  Since honeyberries are one of the first fruit to ripen, the worst of it usually happens after harvest.

Mildew and sunburn have been observed, to varying degrees, in the cold summer, semi-arid climate (BSk) of Saskatoon, Canada[2] at an elevation of ~1500ft.  In Ohio, where it's warmer and more humid – but at a much lower elevation – varieties that were highly resistant in Saskatoon were troubled by both afflictions,[2] but it does not mention which were tested.  This is important since Russian varieties are known for being more susceptible than Japanese varieties, and Japanese varieties developed in the United States are said to have additional resistance.

In Lexington, Kentucky, 6 plots were planted with 10 different Japanese honeyberry (haskap) selections, in addition to the hybrid variety 'Borealis', during the spring of 2014, and from 2016 to 2018, data was recorded.[3][4][5] During this time, mildew was not present, and "leaf bronzing" was implied to be low for many.  Unfortunately, most selections had a fairly high mortality rate by the end of the 5th year, and every dead bush was diagnosed with phytophthora root rot.  However, there were two selections with few or no deaths (one death was reported in 2017, but it was apparently retracted in 2018).  They were released under the names of 'Sunrise' and 'Early Blue'.[5]


Fruit Maturity



Honeyberries may turn blue and look ripe 2-3 weeks before they are ready to harvest.[1] Some varieties will turn dark blue inside when they are fully ripe, while others will remain green.  Mature berries can hang on the bush for 1 to 2 months in cool summer climates before they become overripe.  Smaller berries may dehydrate before then.


Flavor



Plants within the genus Lonicera are referred to as honeysuckle, where the name 'honeyberry' is derived.  It also doubles as a highly convenient gimmick to sell product that struggles to develop even a smidge of sweetness, that is, when it comes to every variety that was available back when the name was coined a few decades ago.  Intriguingly, some of these varieties still happen to be described by major nurseries as "sweet".  Sometimes, they even completely avoid any reference to their consistently high level of acidity.  Other times, they'll add cute words like "tangy".  However, some of the newer varieties, such as 'Aurora', have an easier time developing sweetness and flavor to help balance their tart nature.

Honeyberries can be fairly complex, consisting of tones reminiscent of other berries – such as strawberry, blueberry, or raspberry – that complement their own, unique flavor.  Conversely, many will produce berries that develop a weak flavor that is easily overwhelmed by their acidity and, in some cases, bitterness or astringency.

Overall, honeyberries could use some improvement, but they have a lot of potential.  The only thing some of them need to become a high quality fruit for fresh eating is a more appropriate balance between sugar and acid.  It's possible that they are already available to the public, because the jury is still out on practically every variety developed since 2014.


Nutritional Values



Honeyberries provide a moderate to high amount of ascorbic acid, ranging from roughly 10 to 100 mg/100g.[6][7][8][9][10][11][12][13] However, a measurement between 20 to 35 mg/100g appeared to be quite common.  The first honeyberries to be harvested from the bush had more ascorbic acid than those that were harvested later in the season.[6][8][12]

The total phenolic content of honeyberries range between 125 to 1154 GAE mg/100g FW, with the mean low and high being 359 and 620 mg/100g.[14][6][15][8][16][17][10][11][12] Anthocyanins generally consisted of roughly 10-40% of the amount.  For context, many other fruit seem to have a phenolic content in the lower range, while the most phenolic-rich appear to regularly be over 1000 mg/100g FW.

In colder climates, citric acid is the primary acid in multiple culinary berries.  This is often true for honeyberries, but malic acid can occasionally be the most dominate.[17] Regardless, honeyberries regularly have a citric acid content rivaling that of citrus fruit.  Overall, acidity was often measured between 1 to 4 g/100g FW.[6][7][8][9][17][18][13].

The total sugar content generally ranged between 1.56 to 9.5 g/100g FW,[9][17][12][13] and in the study that tested 17 selections, the mean was 6.15 g/100g.[9] Brix levels were not given in these studies.  Elsewhere, brix ranged between 9.3 to 19.9, but the majority were below 15.[6][7][8][18][19]

In one study, the variety 'Indigo Treat' was found to have a sugar content of 13.8 g/100g FW and a brix of 16.4 in 2015.[19] This is a very high amount of sugar for a honeyberry, and it's from a variety that is currently known for being inferior to Aurora.  However, the results were much lower during the other two years it was tested.  In 2014, Indigo Treat had a sugar content of 5.9g (14.3 brix), and in 2016, it was 5.6g (11.3 brix).[19]

There were six other varieties that were tested in this study, and in 2015, they had a spike in sugar as well.  'Indigo Gem' had the second highest amount in 2015 (11.3g with a brix of 16.1), but it had the highest amount in 2014 (10.3g with a brix of 18.3) and 2016 (6.1g with a brix of 11.5).[19] 'Tundra' was also tested.  It had a sugar content of 3.9g (11.5 brix) in 2014, 6.2g (11.7 brix) in 2015, and 3.9g (9.8 brix) in 2016.[19]

1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6. Yield and Chemical Composition of Blue Honeysuckle Fruit Depending on Ripening Time, .
7.
8.
9.
10. Blue honeysuckle fruit (Lonicera caerulea L.) from eastern Russia: phenolic composition, nutritional value and biological activities of its polar extracts, .
11. Blue honeysuckle (Lonicera cearulea L. subs. edulis) berry; A rich source of some nutrients and their differences among four different cultivars, .
12. Blue honeysuckle (Lonicera caerulea subsp. edulis (Turcz. ex Herder) Hulten.) berries and changes in their ingredients across different locations, .
13.
14. Preliminary Observations on Adaptation and Nutraceutical Values of Blue Honeysuckle (Lonicera caerulea ) in Oregon, USA, .
15.
16.
17.
18. Performance of five haskap (Lonicera caerulea L.) cultivars and the effect of hexanal on postharvest quality, .
19. Bioactive compounds and antioxidant capacity of Lonicera caerulea berries: Comparison of seven cultivars over three harvesting years, .



Read More

Japanese Honeyberry
Lonicera caerulea var emphyllocalyx

Blue Treasure

F3 Lonicera caerulea var emphyllocalyx
Zone
:
2 (3a)
Blooms
💮:
late
Ripens
🍏:
late (very late)
Growth
:
5ft W x 5ft H
Flavor
:
sweet-tart?

Giant's Heart

F3 Lonicera caerulea var emphyllocalyx
Zone
:
2 (3a)
Blooms
💮:
mid-late
Ripens
🍏:
mid-late
Growth
:
5ft W x 5ft H
Flavor
:
sweet-tart?

Keiko

Zone
:
3a (2)
Blooms
💮:
late
Ripens
🍏:
late
Growth
:
6ft W x 6ft H
Flavor
:
sweet-tart?

Tana

Zone
:
3a (2)
Blooms
💮:
mid-late (late)
Ripens
🍏:
mid-late (late)
Flavor
:
sweet-tart?

Yezberry Honey Bunch

Zone
:
3a (2)
Blooms
💮:
late
Ripens
🍏:
late
Growth
:
5ft H
Flavor
:
sweet-tart?
Yezberry "Honey Bunch" has a fairly deceptive description.  It is often mentioned for being "very sweet" but it doesn't specifically say that it's sweeter than the other Yezberries (nor is it likely "very sweet", perhaps sweet-tart at best, but I could be wrong.  Results will hopefully come in from home-growers in 2021).  This is different from the other Yezberry descriptions since they focus on one specific quality and make it clear that it's superior to the others in this way, but they do no such thing for 'Honey Bunch'.

Yezberry Maxie

Zone
:
3a (2)
Blooms
💮:
late
Ripens
🍏:
late
Growth
:
6ft H
Flavor
:
sweet-tart/tart?
Yezberry Maxie produces the largest berries within the Yezberry series (no details are given).

Yezberry Solo

Zone
:
3a (2)
Blooms
💮:
mid-late
Ripens
🍏:
mid-late (late)
Growth
:
6ft H
Flavor
:
sweet-tart/tart?
partially self-fertile

Yezberry Sugar Pie

Zone
:
3a (2)
Blooms
💮:
late
Ripens
🍏:
late?
Growth
:
3-4ft H dwarf
Flavor
:
sweet-tart/tart?
Sugar Pie produces the smallest bush within the Yezberry series.  It is one of the smaller bushes outside of the series as well.

Honeyberry
Lonicera spp

Aurora

Solovey (Russian) x MT46.55 (Japanese).  Released in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada (2012).
Zone
:
1
Blooms
💮:
early-mid
Ripens
🍏:
mid
Growth
:
5.5ft W x 5.5ft H
Fruit
:
2.17 g/berry
Afflictions
:
Somewhat resistant to powdery mildew.
Flavor
:
sweet-tart
Aurora appears to be, by far, the sweetest and most liked out of the older honeyberry cultivars available in North America.  Some of the newer cultivars being released in the mid to late 2010's are likely superior, but results from home-growers have still not come in.

partially self-fertile

Blue Cloud

F3 Lonicera caerulea var emphyllocalyx
Blooms
💮:
mid-late
Ripens
🍏:
mid-late
Growth
:
5ft W x 5ft H
Flavor
:
tart?

Blue Forest

Zone
:
2
Blooms
💮:
  .......   :   originally placed with the late blooming Kuril varieties, but I'm now seeing a highly contradicting report on bloom time by a credible source (could be Russian).
Growth
:
3ft H dwarf
Afflictions
:
Somewhat resistant to sunburn.  
Somewhat susceptible to powdery mildew.
Flavor
:
tart?
Blue Forest produces one of the smallest honeyberry bushes.  I have not seen any other varieties described as growing up to only 3ft tall (4ft is semi-common and 5-6ft is most common).

Boreal Beast

(Kiev #7 (Kuril) x Tomichka (Russian)) x MT46.55 (Japanese).  Selected in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada (2015).
Zone
:
2
Blooms
💮:
mid-late   :   may start with Boreal Blizzard but ends 0.5 to 1 week later
Ripens
🍏:
mid-late   :   0.5 to 1 week after Boreal Blizzard
Fruit
:
2g/berry
Afflictions
:
Somewhat resistant to powdery mildew.
Flavor
:
sweet-tart/sweet?

Boreal Beauty

37.5% Japanese, 37.5% Russian, 25% Kuril.  Selected in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada (2014).
Zone
:
2
Blooms
💮:
late (mid-late)
Ripens
🍏:
late (very late)
Growth
:
5ft W x 5ft H
Fruit
:
2.6 g/berry, some can get up to 3.7 grams.
Afflictions
:
Somewhat resistant to powdery mildew and sunburn.
Flavor
:
sweet-tart?

Boreal Blizzard

Japanese x Russian, closely related to Aurora (implying same parentage).  Selected in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada (2014).
Zone
:
2
Blooms
💮:
mid-late
Ripens
🍏:
mid-late
Growth
:
5ft W x 5ft H
Fruit
:
2.8g/berry, some can get up to 3.9 grams.
Afflictions
:
Somewhat resistant to powdery mildew and sunburn.
Flavor
:
sweet-tart?

Borealis

Kiev #8 (Kuril) x Tomichka (Russian).  Released in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada (2007).
Zone
:
1
Blooms
💮:
early-mid
Ripens
🍏:
early-mid
Growth
:
6ft W x 5ft H
Fruit
:
1.6g/berry
Afflictions
:
Somewhat resistant to sunburn.  
Somewhat susceptible to powdery mildew.
Flavor
:
tart
In-spite of its popularity (probably because it's often associated with Aurora), Borealis has a fairly poor reputation when it comes to fresh eating.  Aurora is, perhaps, the only older cultivar that is recommended by home-growers.  Some of the newer cultivars sound promising as well.

Early Blue

named around 2018? ***
Alias
:
51-02
Blooms
💮:
early-mid   :   Implied to be emphyllocalyx, but bloomed along with the hybrid 'Borealis' in Lexington, Kentucky.
Ripens
🍏:
early-mid
Yield
:
moderately-low, for at least the first few years of production.
Afflictions
:
Resistant to mildew and sunburn.
Early Blue produced an average of 18.1 ounces per plant after 5 years in Lexington, Kentucky, making it the fourth least productive of the 11 genotypes tested (mean = 24.2 ounces).

Honey Bee

Suvenir (Russian) x Blue Pacific (Kuril).  Released in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada (2011).
Zone
:
1
Blooms
💮:
early-mid
Ripens
🍏:
mid
Growth
:
6ft H
Fruit
:
1.9g/berry
Afflictions
:
Somewhat resistant to powdery mildew.
Flavor
:
tart with a hint of bitterness or astringency
Honey Bee was selected to be a pollinator for Tundra, Borealis, and the 3 members of the Indigo series because those 5 are closely related (have the same parentage) and struggle to pollinate each other.

Roughly half of its fruit hang on to the stem when harvested.

precocious

Indigo Gem

Kiev #8 (Kuril) x Tomichka (Russian).  Released in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada (2007).
Zone
:
1
Blooms
💮:
early-mid
Ripens
🍏:
early-mid
Growth
:
5 to 6ft H
Fruit
:
1.3g/berry
Afflictions
:
Susceptible to powdery mildew.  Very susceptible to sunburn.
Flavor
:
sweet-tart/tart
Indigo Gem may be more productive than most others when grown on heavy clay soil, but more testing is needed.

partially self-fertile

Indigo Treat

Kiev #8 (Kuril) x Tomichka (Russian).  Released in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada (2007).
Zone
:
1
Blooms
💮:
early-mid
Ripens
🍏:
early-mid
Growth
:
5ft H
Fruit
:
1.4g/berry
Afflictions
:
Somewhat resistant to powdery mildew and sunburn.
Flavor
:
tart

Indigo Yum

Kiev #8 (Kuril) x Tomichka (Russian).  Released in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada (2007).
Zone
:
1
Blooms
💮:
early-mid
Ripens
🍏:
early-mid
Fruit
:
1.29g/berry
Afflictions
:
Somewhat resistant to powdery mildew.  
Somewhat susceptible to sunburn.
Indigo Yum is harder to find because it's difficult to propagate.

Strawberry Sensation

F3 Lonicera caerulea var emphyllocalyx
Blooms
💮:
late
Ripens
🍏:
late (very late)
Growth
:
5ft W x 5ft H
Flavor
:
sweet-tart/tart?
Named after its supposed alpine strawberry aftertaste.  I have not seen anyone confirm this yet, but I have occasionally tasted a good amount of strawberry from an unknown variety, so it's quite possible.

Sunrise

named around 2018? ***
Alias
:
29-55
Blooms
💮:
early-mid   :   Implied to be emphyllocalyx, but bloomed along with the hybrid 'Borealis' in Lexington, Kentucky.
Ripens
🍏:
early-mid   :   after Borealis
Growth
:
dwarf
Yield
:
low, for at least the first few years of production.
Afflictions
:
Resistant to mildew and sunburn.
Sunrise was the sweetest selection tested during a 5 year trial in Lexington, Kentucky.  It also had the lowest acidity level on the year tested and consistently ranked among the top for flavor, but it was not compared with any of the best honeyberry varieties, such as Aurora.

Sunrise produced an average of 13.6 ounces per plant during the fifth year, making it the second least productive of the 11 genotypes tested (mean = 24.2 ounces).  Lower productivity was also observed during the previous 2 years.

Tundra

Kiev #8 (Kuril) x Tomichka (Russian).  Released in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada (2007).
Zone
:
1
Blooms
💮:
early-mid
Ripens
🍏:
early-mid
Growth
:
6ft W x 5ft H
Fruit
:
1.5g/berry
Afflictions
:
Somewhat resistant to powdery mildew.  
Somewhat susceptible to sunburn.
Flavor
:
tart

Vostorg

Blooms
💮:
mid
Ripens
🍏:
early-mid
Flavor
:
sweet-tart/tart?
Vostorg did as well as Aurora in a German? taste test, but it may be on the tart side.

Russian Honeyberry
Lonicera caerulea var kamtschatica

Bakczarskaja Jubilejnaja

Zone
:
1
Blooms
💮:
early
Ripens
🍏:
early
Flavor
:
tart?

Berry Blue

Zone
:
1
Blooms
💮:
early
Ripens
🍏:
early
Growth
:
8ft H
Afflictions
:
Susceptible to sunburn and powdery mildew.
Flavor
:
tart, astringent

Blue Belle

Zone
:
1
Blooms
💮:
early
Ripens
🍏:
early
Growth
:
5ft W x 5ft H
Afflictions
:
Somewhat susceptible to sunburn.  Susceptible to powdery mildew.
Flavor
:
tart

Blue Bird

Zone
:
1
Blooms
💮:
early
Ripens
🍏:
early
Growth
:
6ft H
Flavor
:
tart?

Blue Lightning

Zone
:
1
Blooms
💮:
early
Ripens
🍏:
early
Growth
:
5ft H
Flavor
:
tart?

Blue Nova

Zone
:
1
Blooms
💮:
early
Ripens
🍏:
early
Growth
:
4ft H dwarf
Afflictions
:
Somewhat resistant to sunburn and powdery mildew.

Blue Sky

Zone
:
1
Growth
:
4ft H dwarf
Flavor
:
tart?

Cinderella

Developed in Siberia
Zone
:
1
Blooms
💮:
early
Ripens
🍏:
early
Growth
:
5ft H
Afflictions
:
Susceptible to powdery mildew.
Flavor
:
sweet-tart?

Doc's Velikana

Zone
:
1
Blooms
💮:
early
Ripens
🍏:
early-mid
Flavor
:
sweet-tart?

Smokey Blue

Zone
:
1
Blooms
💮:
early
Ripens
🍏:
early
Growth
:
4ft H dwarf
Flavor
:
tart?

Sugar Mountain Blue

Developed in the Czech Republic
Zone
:
1
Blooms
💮:
early
Ripens
🍏:
early
Growth
:
6ft H
Afflictions
:
Susceptible to powdery mildew.
Flavor
:
sweet-tart?

Wojtek

Developed in Poland?
Alias
:
Larisa
Zone
:
1
Blooms
💮:
early
Ripens
🍏:
early-mid
Growth
:
5ft W x 6ft H
Flavor
:
tart

Zojka

Developed in Poland?
Zone
:
1
Blooms
💮:
early
Ripens
🍏:
early-mid
Growth
:
6ft W x 5ft H
Flavor
:
sweet-tart/sweet?

Turzcaninowii Honeyberry
Lonicera caerulea var Turzcaninowii

Blue Banana

F4 Lonicera caerulea var Turzcaninowii
Zone
:
1
Blooms
💮:
early-mid
Ripens
🍏:
early-mid
Growth
:
5ft W x 5ft H
Flavor
:
sweet-tart/sweet?

Blue Dessert

F4 Lonicera caerulea var Turzcaninowii
Alias
:
Blue Angus
Blooms
💮:
early-mid
Ripens
🍏:
early-mid
Growth
:
5ft W x 5ft H
Flavor
:
sweet-tart?

Blue Moose

F3 Lonicera caerulea var Turzcaninowii
Zone
:
1
Blooms
💮:
early?
Ripens
🍏:
early
Growth
:
5ft W x 5ft H
Flavor
:
sweet-tart?

Blue Palm

F3 Lonicera caerulea var Turzcaninowii
Zone
:
1
Blooms
💮:
early-mid?
Ripens
🍏:
early-mid
Growth
:
5ft W x 5ft H
Fruit
:
tart

Happy Giant

F3 Lonicera caerulea var Turzcaninowii
Zone
:
1
Blooms
💮:
early
Ripens
🍏:
early
Growth
:
5ft W x 6ft H
Flavor
:
tart

Honey Delight

F3 Lonicera caerulea var Turzcaninowii
Zone
:
1
Blooms
💮:
early
Ripens
🍏:
early
Flavor
:
sweet-tart?

Honey Gin

F4 Lonicera caerulea var Turzcaninowii
Blooms
💮:
early-mid?
Ripens
🍏:
early-mid
Growth
:
4ft W x 5ft H
Flavor
:
sweet-tart/sweet?

Kuril Honeyberry
Lonicera caerulea var ?

Blue Hokkaido

Zone
:
2
Blooms
💮:
late
Ripens
🍏:
late?
Growth
:
5ft H
Flavor
:
tart?

Blue Moon

Zone
:
2
Blooms
💮:
late
Ripens
🍏:
late?
Growth
:
5ft H
Flavor
:
tart, lacks flavor

Blue Pacific

Zone
:
2
Blooms
💮:
late
Ripens
🍏:
late?
Afflictions
:
Somewhat resistant to sunburn and powdery mildew.
Flavor
:
tart?

Blue Pagoda

Zone
:
2
Blooms
💮:
late
Ripens
🍏:
late?
Growth
:
5ft H
Flavor
:
tart?

Blue Sea

Zone
:
2
Blooms
💮:
late
Ripens
🍏:
late?
Growth
:
dwarf
Flavor
:
tart?
Blue Sea supposedly grows into a small bush, but no height is given.

Blue Velvet

Zone
:
2
Blooms
💮:
late
Ripens
🍏:
late?
Growth
:
6ft W x 4ft H dwarf
Afflictions
:
Somewhat susceptible to sunburn.  Susceptible to powdery mildew.
Flavor
:
tart, lacks flavor

Kamchatka

Zone
:
2
Blooms
💮:
late
Ripens
🍏:
late?
Growth
:
6ft H
Afflictions
:
Somewhat susceptible to sunburn and powdery mildew.
Flavor
:
tart