Hippophaë rhamnoides: The Sea Berry or Sea Buckthorn


Hippophaë rhamnoides. Picture from wikipedia

Here at the Nursery we have a ton of interesting berry shrubs but one of the useful berries in stock is the Sea Berry or Sea Buckthorn. Our favorite of the Sea Berry is the Titan. It bears abundant crops of very large, bright orange berries that have a sweet and sour pineapple taste, are an excellent source of vitamins A, E and have 7 times more vitamin C than lemons. Like most berry shrubs the Sea Berry needs cross pollination so a male plant is required but 1 male can pollinate up to 8 females and is a good looker with its light blue-gray soft foliage.

This wonder can grow in most inhospitable soil situations including sandy beach conditions and is likely where it got it’s name. It is so adaptable to poor soils because it will ‘fix’ the soil you put it in by adding the nitrogen all plants need to thrive. So, not only does the newest growth become inundated with fruit in early summer, and thorns to protect said berries, it is hardy to minus 40° F or USDA zone 3, can yield up to 30 lbs from a full grown 8ft tall shrub and it will fix the soil and everything around it will benefit.

The best way to harvest the branches covered in fruit, and thorns, is to cut off the whole branch with the fruit on it and freeze them. Once they are frozen you can shake the fruit right off the branches. The thorns don’t have a chance to do any damage this way and it truly is the quickest way to harvest. The fruit is commonly used in preserves, candy, liqueurs and in juices it is absolutely delicious when sweetened. After thawing press the berries, strain off the juice, diluted to about 1/3 juice, 2/3 water and add sugar or honey to taste. Yummy!