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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(gooseberry), a genus of perennial plants of the family Grossulariaceae. They are shrubs of various heights. The shoots have spines in the nodes and prickles in the inter-nodes. The leaves, which are alternate and three- to five-lobed, are bare or hairy. The flowers are most often bisexual and sessile; there are usually one to three flowers in each raceme. The berry is an accessory fruit, or a pseudocarp, which is rounded or elongated. The bare or pubescent fruit is white, yellow, green, red, purple, or black. Cultivated forms of Grossularia require light and heat. The flowers are often injured by spring frosts. Grossularia is not drought-resistant and is subject to scalding in southern regions.

There are over 50 known wild species of Grossularia, distributed in North America, Europe, and Asia. In the USSR there are three wild species. Grossularia acicularis is found in the mountainous regions of Siberia and Middle Asia, G. burejensis grows in the Far East, and English gooseberry (G. reclinata) grows in the European USSR (western Ukraine) and in the Caucasus. The cultivation of Grossularia has been developed in Great Britain, the Netherlands, Belgium, and France; its cultivation is less significant in other countries. In the USSR, Grossularia has been cultivated for its berries since the 11th century; the principal regions of cultivation are the central region of the RSFSR, Byelorussian SSR, Ukrainian SSR, and the Baltic Region.

Grossularia is one of the most valuable early-maturing crops cultivated for berries. It begins to bear fruit, or gooseberries, in the second or third year after planting. The yield of adult plantings reaches 25-30 tons per hectare (ha). The berries contain 8-11 percent sugars, 1.2-1.7 percent organic acids, and 0.88 percent pectins; they also contain vitamin C (30-60 mg per 100 g of juice), vitamin B1, vitamin P, provitamin A (carotene), iron salts, and phosphorus salts. Unripe and half-ripe gooseberries are used in processing (jam, compote); ripe berries are used as food in fresh or frozen form or are made into wine or juice.

There are nearly 1,500 known varieties of Grossularia; these varieties are divided into two groups, European and American. Most European varieties are descended from the English goose-berry. They are distinguished by their large berries, good flavor, and poor tolerance of frost and drought; they suffer greatly from gooseberry mildew and are propagated by layering and from green cuttings. American varieties are obtained principally from crossbreeding American species, such as G. hirtella, G. cynosbati, G. missourensis, and G. var. uva crispa (a variety of the European species G. reclinata). These varieties are characterized by intensive growth, relatively small fruits, resistance to gooseberry mildew and frost, and the ability to propagate by hardwood cuttings. In the USSR more than 100 varieties have been regionalized; the most common are Avenarius, English Yellow, Brazilian, Warsaw, Mysovskii 37, Finik, and Houghton.

Grossularia should be planted in areas that are protected from cold winds and have continually moist, loamy, fertile soils. A year before planting, the area should be plowed to a depth of 35-40 cm, and organic fertilizers (from 40-80 tons/ha, depending on the soil) and mineral fertilizers (P2O5 and K2O, at the rate of 90-120 kg/ha) should be applied. Planting is usually done in autumn with two- to three-year-old seedlings. The seedlings are planted 1.25-1.5 m apart, in rows spaced 2.5 m apart. During the growth and development period the soil is cultivated and mulched and the weeds are removed. Organic fertilizers (15-30 tons/ha of manure or compost) and mineral fertilizers are ap-plied annually; the latter contains 50-60 kg/ha N, 60 kg/ha P2O5, and 60 kg/ha K2O. Supplementary application of organic or mineral fertilizers is advisable. In early spring the old branches should be pruned. An adult shrub should have 20 to 25 branches of various ages. The greatest damage is done by the imported currantworm and the gooseberry fruitworm.


Kul’turnaia flora SSSR, vol. 16. Moscow-Leningrad, 1936.
Pavlova, M. A. Kryzhovnik. Moscow, 1956.
Derev’ia i kustarniki SSSR, vol. 3. Moscow-Leningrad, 1954.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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