Saturday, May 25, 2013

'Hinnomaki Red' Gooseberries were developed in the early 1900s!!

I am shouting the title of this blog post at the top of my internet lungs, folks.

I consider myself a pretty decent googler. It generally only takes me a good 15 minutes max to google even the most obscure topics. Well, this morning I bought myself a Hinnomaki Red gooseberry at the Sara Hardy Farmer's Market in Traverse City. I had a hunch it was an heirloom, but wasn't totally positive on its intro date. I knew it was at least pre-1930, but beyond that... well.. I figured I'd buy it and google it later.

So, yeah.

I just spent three hours googling the hinnomaki red gooseberry. Three Hours Of My Life. (Of course this is three hours of my life, as spent at the Cherry Capital Comicbook Convention, so... it's alright. I love me a good comic book convention, sure, but when faced with the option of googling some horticultural mystery, well... you can see where this is going.)

So! I found out through a basic search that Hinnomaki Red (and Yellow and Green) are hardy cultivars introduced from Finland. Beyond that, there is nothing in the American Google results. Nada... at least not in the first 15 pages or so. I found sites that called them heirlooms, sites that called them new introductions and sites that ignored the history of the variety altogether.

After the U.S. Google failed me I decided to get serious. I found the URL for the Finnish Google and started googling Hinnomaki, after which I discovered the repetitive use of "Hinnonmaki" and some other similar words. I then was struck with a stroke of genius and wandered over to a Finnish dictionary site and looked up the word for "Introduced" which turned out to be "esitellä". After that it was as simple as pie! I just plugged in the words "Hinnonmaki" and  "esitellä" and up came a web site about the various Finnish varieties of Gooseberry!

And there, under 'Hinnonmäen Yellow' and 'Hinnonmäen Red' was this information:   
This home-like, the ever-popular variety was bred in the early 1900s.  
This is somewhat powdery mildew resistant variety was bred in the early 1900s Hinnonmäen test station.

Finally! Now I not only know when it was bred, but where! I feel like I have attained all new Google Mastery. I should get a badge or something! 

So I'm putting this blog post up specifically for people out there who are looking for a breeding date on the Hinnonmaki or Hinnomaki Red gooseberry. Early 1900's. I'll keep looking for a specific date, but... there ya go, plant geeks!


  1. Thank you! You have solved my quest of the day, and I truly appreciate all your effort!

    1. Emily's gathered information 2013 is still highly relevant today. Many thanks to her.

  2. The yellow Hinnonmäki was released in 1938 according to the swiss genebank:

    Unfortunately they dont have that information on the red one:

    Im pretty sure both were developed at the Lepaa horticultural institute between 1910 and 1940. Hinnonmäki red may be identical to Lepaa red.

    Hope this helped

  3. Lol I found this blog looking for more detailed info about my recently aquired plant. I'm glad to find I'm not the only one that spends hours of its life searching for even the smallest details of the plants I buy. Thank you!

  4. I'm sure you had no idea that there would be someone searching hopelessly for information about the Hinnomaki red gooseberry in 2022. Thank you for your tenacious research. I just purchased one plant and if it thrives, will order another.

  5. There's a genectic mutation or sport of Hinnonmaki Red called Little Ben. It's virtually identical, but said to be a smaller sized bush. Probably marketing hype.

  6. I much prefer Hinnonmaki Yellow to the Red. It's much more vigorous, cuttings root easily, evergreen up to Winter, prolific cropper of large fruit(I picked 500 fruits from mid July 2002 weighing in an average of 5g- some reaching 7.5g in size!) sawflies don't strip the leaves as badly as most other cultivars as it's so tough, very hardy, diseases and root rot have little effect and hardly ever sees aphid attacks. Excellent plant which is quite ornamental too with its willowy shape!

  7. Don't spend extra cash on Little Ben thinking it's a better plant than Hinnonmaki Red, because it's the same. Just another marketing ploy, same as the Hinnonmaki Yellow tastes of apricot nonsense-just a sweet goosegog taste and very flavoursome in reality. Or the reviews stating Captivator gooseberry produces large fruits/high yields-most are small 2 to3 grams and you'll be lucky if it produces over 1.5kg in 3 years unlike Hinnos which fruit heavily within 2 seasons. Makes me think of that chocolate peppermint nonsense tasting of guess what?- chocolate. It's just a rank form of Peppermint most likely hybridised with another mint. Trust your own judgement and what actual gardeners say not websites selling such and such. Thanks.

  8. Captivator gooseberry when established can grow a very large 6 foot high by same in width, if left unpruned. After 5 years you may see yields of up to 4kg. Fruits can be 3 to 5 grams in size and have a crunchy texture tasting of jam inside. In practice though as not everyone is an expert gardener, yields with this plant are usually are a modest 2kg a season with little care or pruning. Just give your gooseberry plants a sprinkle of bone meal or fish blood each season and they will reward you well.

  9. This is a nice blog, glad I found it. Thanks to Emily for great information. Hinnonmaki Yellow must my favourite gooseberry of all. Usually the red gets sold most as it's great plant no doubt, but the yellow is just as good. It grows anywhere and cuttings root really easy anytime until late Autumn. Mildew hardly bothers it, just the odd leaf now and again. Sawfly attacks have little effect on the plant as its leaves are so tough and prolific like it's fruiting ability of 3kg, which is a huge crop for such a small plant. Also it fruits within 2 years after planting it(many 6 grams and bigger) or after taking a good cutting. It can grow to 4 feet x 4 feet, but it doesn't require much pruning as it continues to bear on older wood for many years.

  10. Hinnonmaki Red is so popular that it is virtually found everywhere in market stores everywhere. I bought a little plant for a pound 20 years ago which fruited the year after and every year since, despite little pruning or fertilizing. No mildew whatsoever and minimal sawfly attacks. My yield record is 8 pounds. Fantastic producer!

  11. I bought on a whim a Hinnonmaki Red plant as a small rooted cutting from a pound shop 21 years ago and it is still going strong with very little pruning. Incredible plant!