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neglected that uniform horticultural varieties and superior cultivars remain to be identified. Currently, it is difficult to get lines that perform consistently. Growers in New Zealand, at least, select their own favorite plants from their own fields and replicate them by planting cuttings.

The plant's susceptibility to pests and diseases is not well understood, but when plantings are small and separated, pests and diseases are seldom major problems. In fact, once established, the crop rèquires little attention. However, potential threats (especially in large plantings) include birds, which prey upon the fruits; tobacco mosaic virus and bacterial leaf-spot, which infect the plants; and a number of insects that attack the foliage.

Palates accustomed to sweet fruits may find the slightly bitter aftertaste of some goldenberries unappealing. Even so, the uniquely fruity flavor is almost universally enjoyed.

Despite the ease of production, this may be an expensive crop to produce on a large scale. The plant probably needs staking for ease of handling in commercial production. Moreover, harvesting and manually husking each fruit is labor-intensive and is time-consuming. (This should not be more of a concern than with other berry crops, however.)

The husk is an asset, but can also be a liability. It conceals the fact that the fruit inside may have split or otherwise been damaged. (The experience of finding a split and rotten berry inside can be irritating.)

This robust plant could become a weed when introduced to new locations. And it may be a threat to foraging animals. Its leaves and stems are suspected of having caused the erosion of intestinal membranes (diptheresis) in cattle.14

The berry is sometimes covered with a sticky coating. If the weather is damp, a black mold often develops on this coating, although no harm seems to come to the fruit and the discoloration is easily washed off. The consumer, however, is likely to reject the whole batch after finding a few sooty berries. Of course, this is hidden by the papery shell and comes as a surprise to the unwary shopper.

Only ripe fruits should be eaten. Although unreported, there may be toxic glucosides in the unripe fruit.

RESEARCH NEEDS

The following are among this crop's general research needs.

Genetic Selection Since the 1940s and 1950s, goldenberry has been


14 Information from J. Duke.


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