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Monday, January 21, 2013

Seabuckthorn - Male or Female Plant?

First, The News:

Seabuckthorn Plants for sale:

(Watch for sales of wild un-sexed Chinese Seabuckthorn plants by Foxgreen Farms.  I have 500 1-2 ft plants which will be ready to ship late April as well as 100 Saskatoon Berry plants)

Raintree Nursery has a number of varieties at this writing.  Prices range from @$19.00 to $25.00.  There are six female and one male selections.  Many are limited to one plant per customer.

One Green World has one additional female variety, it is called Hergo and the prices are similar.

From NewStatemanBritain’s leading, best written and most authoritative weekly political, cultural and current affairs magazine.

"...things Britain went mad for in 2012: deep-fried moss and sea buckthorn juice (courtesy of the Scandinavians).."   link to NewStateman

From Bon Appetit Magazine: "Ingredient of the moment"  

Gourmet Magazine ingredient of the moment

Thank you to Tony and Jeanne, from New England Foodie, for sending me this photo.  For readers of this blog, if you haven't yet seen the delicious ideas on New England Foodie and love food, I highly recommend visiting!  

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. In addition to previously posted photographs, Eva Ekeblad has this remarkable photograph:
The left depict male structure and the right female.  The female flowers are nearly invisible at the base of the spring leaf growth.  Click on the photo to go to original at

Female buds are formed the previous year, they are protected by a scale on one side and the shoot on
the other, and are about the length of the thickness of a credit card and half as thick.  They do not become visible until they are at least 3mm in length. (J.E. Harrison and T. Beveridge 2002)

Your comments, suggestions, and contributions are welcome and appreciated wholeheartedly!  Please subscribe by any of the methods to the right hand side of this page.  

Haldis writes: Do you really think you can sell 500 super sour seaberry plants?

Thanks for the question.  I would have great difficulty parting with all of them.  I have plans for some of them when they grow up.


  1. I bought my plants from Raintree. I bought one female "Titan" and a male. I can't wait for the female to start fruiting. I planted them this past summer so i expect i'll have to wait another couple years.

  2. I'm waiting for a little patch of sea buckthorn trees to produce berries so I can tell which are the males and females. Any tips on propagating? I've never done it before so I don't know how successful I will be, but I would like to get a male and a female. There are lots of little shoots coming up around the trees, should I dig up these or propagate from cuttings? I'm not sure if the offspring are unreliable or not.

  3. Hi Meghan, I would dig the shoots and plant them in another row/location. It would be a good idea to make records of which plant you got the shoots from so when the mother plant reveals it's sex, you will know right away what the immature ones are. If you got the patch from growing seed, the offspring from shoots or cuttings will be true to the parent. Cuttings can be done best in late winter/early spring. Take 1/4 to 1/2 inch diameter wood cuttings about 8 inches long, plant them about 4" deep to root. There is more to rooting things and rather than go into detail here, all that information can be googled by searching for information on hardwood cuttings.