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Robustikosen®

Robustikosen® – the new type of stone fruit by Lubera®

Robustikosen Campanere (Prunus x dasycarpa)Who has not yet experienced it? Apricots that are already dying after a few years, branch after branch? We admit it: we have not found real apricots, which are guaranteed to last in our climate, but the Robustikosen® will! The Robustikosen® are much smaller than apricots; they weigh about 25-35 grams, but their aroma, sometimes the leaves and shoots and especially the very fine, hairy skin are reminiscent of apricots.

The Robustikosen® have the following advantages:

  • They have later flowers that are more winter hardy than apricots and are therefore less susceptible to spring frosts
  • No dying back of the shoots, very robust
  • Small snack fruits with an intense aroma
  • The harvest period lasts three months; the varieties mature from June to the end of August

When grown in the garden, they are slightly weaker than apricots; they branch very well and are generally much more robust than apricots!

The diversity of Robustikosen® varieties

From the very beginning, we can offer a wide range of varieties for this new type of stone fruit, the Robustikosen®: the earliest variety, Promessa Giugno, matures in June, the latest variety Campanere at the end of August, and in higher elevations starting in September. Vesuviana Rossa has the largest fruit weighing sometimes more than 30 g as well as a beautiful, warm red colour. Campanere has an almost velvety-looking, violet-black colour. And it has an aroma that can change from fresh-fruity-plum-green to very sweet, with aromatic hints of plum, apricot and even peach. With regard to the flavour of the Robustikosen®, you also notice that they are the result of the fusion of two different types of fruit.

   
 
Robustikose® Campanere

The latest Robustikose® with a huge yield

£37.40 *

Robustikose® Promessa di Giugno

The earliest Robustikose®

£37.40 *

Robustikose® Vesuviana Rossa

The red Robustikose® with a peach flavour

£37.40 *

   
 

Where do the Robustikosen® come from?

Robustikosen Campanere (Prunus x dasycarpa)The Robustikosen® originate from a largely unknown fruit species, Prunus dasycarpa or Prunus x dasycarpa, which was said to have originated thousands of years ago in western China, and which is quite limited, but has been known since ancient times in the Vesuvius region in Italy as Biricoccolo and grown in Eastern Europe as black apricots. Prunus x daycarpa, the botanical name, is said to have originated from a cross between apricots (Prunus armeniaca) and cherry plums (Prunus cerasifera). It is controversial whether this hybridisation occurred naturally or if it was influenced by humans. I suspect the former, which would also explain the spread of Prunus dasycarpa descendants with regard to the colour and ripening period.

Breeding Robustikosen® at Lubera

On the one hand, we have collected old, Italian varieties at Lubera and continue to test various varieties of Biricoccolo. On the other hand, we bought seeds of black apricots from Eastern Europe about 15 years ago, which we have sown in our region and then selected for garden value and fruit quality. And from this material, we are now forming the new type of the stone fruit for gardens, the Robustikosen®.

What are the horticultural advantages of Robustikosen®?

  • More robust, healthier growth in our northern, rainy climate
  • Combines the cherry plum aroma with the aroma of apricots, sometimes even with aroma nuances of peach
  • Ideally suited as a dessert and as a processing fruit for compote, jam, jelly
  • An informal, relatively wild cultivation is possible, e.g. as a wild fruit hedge, but they can also be trained as a spindle
  • Also holds more moisture than apricots, so it can be cultivated well in a freestanding manner; needs no warming and dry wall layer (trellis)
  • Also suitable for altitudes up to 1000 m (and higher)

How do you eat Robustikosen®?

Well, how can you ask such a strange question? How do you think? On the other hand, the question is justified, since apricots, peaches and Japanese plums are used to having much larger fruits, many of which are cut in half and eaten in portions or bites. I recommend eating the Robustikosen®, perhaps with the exception of the largest variety Vesuviana Rossa, like a cherry: put the entire fruit in your mouth, bite into it, suck and enjoy the flesh and juice, do not forget to swallow as you enjoy the flavour and of course the pit must be spit out.

When are Robustikosen® ripe?

After the colour changes, many varieties of Robustikosen® quickly look very beautiful and mature: they almost reach the full fruit size in the green stage, then the colour changes from yellow to red – and you think, as beautiful as they are they should also be ready to eat! Here you must be patient, and with each variety, keep the target colour in mind: Promessa Giugno is dark red to purple, Vesuviana has a warm red colour and Campanere is violet-black. Only when this target colour is reached, or when it has reached at least the first fruits, can the harvest begin. In addition, the ready-to-eat fruits will then give in slightly when pressed with your thumb.

What distinguishes the Italian origins of the Biricoccolo and the Eastern European black apricots?

We tested several Italian Biricoccolo strains and compared them to our breeds based on Eastern European black apricots. Basically, the Italian origins are rather larger and have a lighter red colour, while the Eastern European genetics is dark and usually a little smaller. The Robustikosen® varieties from our own breeding programme based on black apricots are juicier and fruitier. The Italian Biricoccolo Robustikosen® are usually somehow perfumed so their aroma can be taken in intensively through the nose. The yield potential of some black apricot varieties, which almost produce clusters of fruits, like Campanere, appear to be slightly higher than those of Italian origin.

How will the breeding of Robustikosen® continue at Lubera?

Of course we have other selections in petto, which we will continue to test and then add to the assortment. At the same time, we will cross the best Robustikosen®, almost certainly focusing on the Biricoccolo and black apricots. As an additional breeding direction, we will begin to backcross the Robustikosen® with apricot varieties that are as robust as possible in order to make the apricots themselves more robust and suitable for home gardening in the longer term. In addition, the colour of the skin and flesh may also be affected and varied.

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