a group of perennial wild and cultivated plants (shrubs, subshrubs, and herbs) that produce an edible fruit commonly known as a berry. The most widely cultivated berry crops in Europe are strawberries, currants, raspberries, and gooseberries. In North America cranberries, blackberries, and blueberries are also cultivated. Less commonly cultivated are strawberries, black rowanberries, actinidias, and the sea buckthorn. The most common wild berries are cranberries, mountain cranberries, and whortleberries. Strawberries and European black currants are common in the European USSR, and European black currants are cultivated in Siberia and the Far East.
Commercial berry plantings are concentrated in suburban areas. Berry crops are also cultivated on personal plots of kolkhoz farmers. They are sometimes used for ornamental purposes, for example, for the creation of green zones and hedges (dog rose, sea buckthorn, and golden currant). Berry crops adapt well to various soil and climatic conditions, reproduce easily, grow rapidly, and bear fruit early (strawberries in the second year, raspberries in the third, and currants in the fourth and fifth).
Berries contain sugar, organic acids, mineral substances, vitamins, and aromatic substances. (For a discussion of the chemical composition seeFRUITS, EDIBLE.) They are eaten in fresh or frozen form or are processed into preserves, jams, marmalades, pastilles, juices, compotes, liqueurs, or wines. Whortleberries, raspberries, rowanberries, and sea buckthorn are of medicinal value.
In 1974 berry plantings occupied about 4 million hectares (ha) worldwide. In 1977 they occupied 142,600 ha in the USSR.
REFERENCESPlodovodstvo, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1966.
Kolesnikov, V. A. Chastnoe plodovodstvo. Moscow, 1973.