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Jeanne gooseberries
Jeanne gooseberries.
Image courtesy National Clonal Germplasm Repository.

New "Jeanne" Gooseberry Resists Diseases

By Laura McGinnis
July 20, 2006

Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists have developed and released a new disease- and pest-resistant dessert gooseberry called "Jeanne."

Sweet and sturdy, this new high-quality, late-fruiting gooseberry was developed by ARS scientists at the National Clonal Germplasm Repository (NCGR) in Corvallis, Ore. Jeanne is named for a former NCGR employee.

Gooseberry production is limited in the United States, partially due to restrictions imposed in the last century. Like other Ribes species, gooseberries are generally susceptible to white pine blister rust. While the disease causes them little harm, it can be devastating—even fatal—to pine trees.

Jeanne gooseberries are highly resistant to white pine blister rust and to powdery mildew, the biggest disease threat to U.S. gooseberry production.

The plant's robustness protects it from insect threats as well. Jeanne is highly resistant to pests like aphids and sawflies. This and its high-quality fruit make it ideal for home plantings or commercial gooseberry production in the Pacific Northwest and similarly temperate climate zones.

How does Jeanne measure up against other cultivars? According to NCGR research leader Kim Hummer, the plant produces green berries which ripen to a deep red as they mature to their full size of about 5 grams. Jeanne also boasts a higher yield than similar cultivars such as Invicta and Captivator, producing about 3.3 pounds of the flavorful fruits per plant during the growing season.

Scientists project that Jeanne, whose dark, sweet berries are well suited to desserts, juices and jams, could extend the production season because it blooms and produces fruit about one to two weeks later than other red gooseberry plants.

The NCGR has provided Jeanne plant material to several nurseries that will propagate the gooseberry for homeowners. Cuttings and rooted cuttings are available for research. Interested scientists should contact Hummer.

ARS is the U.S. Department of Agriculture's chief scientific research agency.