Contributor: Kåre Rapp
Copyright © 1995. All Rights Reserved. Quotation from this document should cite and acknowledge the contributor.
- Common Names
- Scientific Names
- Crop Status
- Crop Culture
- Wild Crops
- Cultivated Crops
- Commercial Plant Source
- Key References
- Selected Expert
Cloudberry may be eaten as fresh fruit, or following freezing and defrosting,
added sugar and cream or whipped cream. They are used as dessert, in jam,
juice consentrate, and as a layer in cakes (cream cakes). Liqueur may also be
produced from cloudberries.
German: Moltebeere, Torfbeere
Canada, USA (Alaska): cloudberry, bakeapple
Species: Rubus chamaemorus L.
Image by Kåre Rapp
Formerly, this fruit was an important remedy for scurvy among hunters in the
Arctic. Due to the high content of benzoic acid, a natural conservation
chemical, the berry is easy to store in its fresh state in a refrigerator or a
Cloudberry is native to most of the northern circumpolar areas. It is found in
Scandinavia, Siberia/Russia, Canada and the USA (Alaska and New Hampshire). It
has also been observed in Greenland and Spitzbergen.
Cloudberry is a herbaceous, perennial plant species. Often called a "pioneer
plant" on account of its rapid regrowth, prior to other species, following soil
disturbance on native peat land. For example along verges following road
construction during peat land with cloudberry plants, and also after
agricultural activity on peat land where cloudberry is growing.
Berries on the market today are hand-picked on native cloud-berry peat land.
Both European and World market demand are largely unmet for this very special
Cultivation methods for cloudberry have been developed and introduced to
farmers and other landowners in Norway. Machinery has also been developed for
combined drainage and soil cultivation of peat land.
Two female and two male varieties of cloudberry have been developed for
northern Norway, after selection and breeding at the Holt Research Centre,
Tromsø. The varieties are registered according to the international
A system for vegetative propagation has been developed to manage the registered
varieties. Varieties suitable to southern districts of Norway are expected to
be available on the market within a few years.
Cloudberry (R. chamaemorus L.) is an octoploid species (2n = 56).
This is the only species in group 3, Chamaemorus, under the genus
Rubus. Cloudberry has been crossed with raspberry (R. idaeus L.,
2n = 14) both spontanousely and artificially, and crossed artificially
with the bramble R. fruticosus L. (2n = 28). However, all
crossing offspring have been sterile. [Raspberry is in group 1
(Idaeobatus) and the bramble is in group 4 (Eubatus) under the
Cloudberry is a dioecious, herbaceous, perennial plant species. It has a
primary vegetative propagation, developed from juvenile buds on the rhizomes
which grow about 10 cm below the soil surface.
The fruit is a berry composed of several small nut-fruits (drupelets) each
bearing a nut-seed. These small nut-seeds are a special characteristic of
desserts comprising berries and cream.
Almost all of the cloudberries on the market today come from production on
native (non-cultivated) cloudberry peat land. This wild crop is primarily
produced on native sphagnum peat bogs, frequently surrounded by forest
providing a natural shelter.
The most favourable growing conditions are obtained on peat bogs between 0.5
and 1 meter in depth, with pH-values between 3.5 and 4.5, and with the ground
water 40 to 50 cm below the surface. The berry yield level on native peat-land
is 20 to 50 kg/ha (8 to 20 kg/acre).
Cultivation methods for commercial cloudberry production have recently been
developed by the Holt Research Centre, Tromsø.
Three cultivation methods (I, II, and III) are briefly described below, and are
advised for cultivation practice.
Method I. Deep-fertilization with NPK fertilizer.
Artificial mineral fertilizers are put into holes, some 15 to 20 cm in depth
made with wooden poles. This method is advised only if there are sufficient of
natural female plants, and if there is no need for drainage. The use of this
selective fertilization method is due to the fact that the cloudberry plant has
most of its roots on the 15 to 20 cm horizon in the mires, whereas most of the
competing species are more shallow rooted while some are deeper rooted.
Method II. Soil cultivation combined with deep-fertilization.
In this method strips are plowed or milled up as beds on the sphagnum mires.
Again, this method is advised only if there are sufficient of natural female
plants. These plants will soon break through the peat bed as a pioneer,
providing the basis for a virgin community of young cloudberry plants. The
furrows plowed and/or the ditches milled up will provide also drainage.
Method III. Full cultivation.
In this method soil cultivation is combined with plant propagation and
planting, and deep-fertilization. This method is recommended if there are too
few female plants in the native stand to provide the basis for a community
following soil cultivation. For this method, the varieties will have to be
propagated and planted at a density of 30,000 to 40,000/ha (12,000 to
16,000/acre) in order to provide an optimal cultivated stand.
Holt Research Centre, Tromsø, Norway.
Gartnerhallen Plant Propagation Station Ervik, 9400 Harstad, Norway.
Kåre Rapp, The Norwegian Crop Research Institute, Holt Research Centre,
PO Box 2502, N-9002 Tromsø, Norway.
- Rapp, K. and K. Steenberg. 1977. Studies of phosphorus uptake from different
depths in cloudberry mires using P32-labelled fertilizer. Acta Agric. Scand.
- Rapp, K. and C. Stushnoff. 1979. Artificial freezing of Rubus
chamaemorus L. for estimation of genetic components of cold hardiness.
Meld. Norg. Landbr.Høgsk. 58(15):1-14.
- Rapp, K. 1987. About the sex ratio and sex differentiation in cloudberry
(Rubus chamaemorus L.). Jord og Myr 11:1-11.
- Rapp, K. 1988. Number of pistils, an alternative criterion when selecting for
high productivity in Rubus. Norwegian J. Agr. Sci. 2:1-4.
- Rapp, K. 1991. Selection for high berry yield, and development of varieties
of cloudberry (Rubus chamaemorus L.). Norsk Landbruksforsking
- Rapp, K. 1992. Cultivation and plant breeding of wild berries, particularly
cloudberry, for northern regions of Norway. Proc. 1st Circumpolar Agr. Conf.,
Yukon, Canada, September 1992. p. 171-172.
Phone: 47 77684875 Fax: 47 77680173
Contributor: Kåre Rapp
Copyright © 1996. All Rights Reserved. Quotation from this document should cite and acknowledge the contributor.
Last update Tuesday, February 24, 1998 by aw