Historic Edmonton Goji Berries
- Hardiness: USDA Zone 3
- Size at Maturity: 8 feet tall and wide
- Edible, Flowering
- Locally Sourced Cuttings and Seeds
Goji berries are a woody brambling shrub in the Solanaceae (nightshade) family along with potatoes, peppers, and eggplant. Grow goji as a bush or train it along a trellis. Goji fruit is oblong and looks like a tiny Roma tomato or pepper, which is an appropriate comparison as the fruit is not overly sweet. In Chinese cuisine, Goji is added to Chinese soups and is eaten raw, dried, or cooked.
Wild Chinatown Goji Berries
Despite the popularity of goji, most people are unaware of the local, hardy lineages of goji naturalized across the City of Edmonton. According to the author Kathryn Chase-Merrit, in her book “Why Grow Here,” the Chinese community-owned and operated as many as fifteen market gardens around the City – many located in Edmonton’s river valley. Among the plants that they would have grown were goji berries.
The market gardens are long gone, but the decedents of goji imported by the Chinese community continue to make their home on the banks of the North Saskatchewan River.
Kilkenny Goji Berries
Kilkenny seedlings are grown from the fruit of a large and productive back-alley Goji in the Edmonton neighbourhood of Kilkenny and planted by a Chinese family in the last 70s or early 80s. Unfortuenly, the original owners have moved, and new owners have removed the parent plant.
McCauley Qi Goji Berries
McCauley Qi plants are cuttings from a Goji grown by a homeowner in the Edmonton neighbourhood of McCauley. The fruit is red, large, and slightly oval in appearance.