Sure takes a long time to bring on a new plant ... this new winter-hardy 'Nocturne' blueberry was nearly 20 years in the making. It was developed by scientists at the USDA's Agricultural Research Service in one of their satellite locations in Chatsworth, New Jersey.
The plant is self-pollinating and bears about 12 pounds of fruit per plant and its winter hardiness is similar to northern highbush blueberry cultivars.
Plant geneticist Mark Ehlenfeldt made the original cross between a mixed species hybrid (US 874) and Premier, a commercial rabbiteye blueberry. Ehlenfeldt says the new variety is intended to be "a specialty market plant for homeowner, landscape, and ornamental use." While the fruit is black, unripe berries are red and orange, so the plant has much potential for attractive landscape use. 'Nocturne' is expected to be available to growers within a year or two ... wish it were much sooner.