Jostaberry is a true hybrid, the product of a complex breeding programme by Dr. R. Bauer of the Max Plank Institute in Cologne.

It was released to the public in 1977. Basically it is a blackcurrant/gooseberry/ribes divericatum hybrid.

The bushes are vigorous, upright and spineless. Unlike other currants the leaves have no scent. It flowers early and often suffers from frost damage. It is resistant to American gooseberry mildew, gall mite, blackcurrant leaf spot and the white pine blister ant. The black fruits are carried 2 to 5 on short strings, are very rich in Vitamin C and make good jam.

The Worcester berry, on the other hand, is a distinct species, ribes divericatum. It makes a vigorous, huge and very spiny bush and is resistant to American gooseberry mildew and big bud mite. It suffers a very odd magnesium deficiency on poor wet soils. The fruit are medium-small dark red to blackish and take a long time to ripen fully. When really ripe they are quite pleasant raw, but better for jam etc.

The crosses between blackcurrants and gooseberries are sterile and spineless. Neither of the two berries are proof against gooseberry sawfly.

Sally Cunningham Dip Hort (RHS)

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