Hypothetical ripe hip

Say you came across an open-pollinated hip of a variety that you desired. You don’t know when it was pollinated. What would be your criteria for deciding if it was ripe and, when opening the hip, confirming that it is indeed ready? Hip color? Peduncle color change? Sepal dryness? Pulp color?

Please share with us - how would YOU decide.


I would go with two of your criteria - hip color and color of stem below the hip area. Not all hips change dramatically, but hopefully you can see if it is any different than others on the bush. I would let it go as long as I could – you don’t worry about frost there in AZ, but if you could, in your estimation, leave it for 110 - 120 days you should be good to go. Most of the hips I have now have the sepals dried after a month or so, and I know that the seeds are not mature so to me that would not be an indicator. Doubt if you could look at the pulp color when still on bush and keep it alive??? after cutting into it.


The main thing is that I wouldn’t rush it any.

I agree with John, that pulp color is not an option.

Subtle signs in some varieties are peduncle becoming a bit more yellow and the sepals become very dry and will separate from the hip with very little effort - ‘Sexy Rexy’ does that for me before the hips change color and the seeds are still viable. Also, another thing that I’ll do with hips that stay mostly green, is I will gently bend the peduncle where it joins the stem. Ripe hips will break away very easily, while unripe hips will not (so if it doesn’t break away with little pressure, don’t force it, just wait).

Jim Sproul

Interesting. The more I work with various open pollinated hips, the more I’m finding that so many varieties only exhibit subtle changes and don’t change color dramatically. Rather, they get sort of worn looking.

As for the pulp, I should have been more clear. I meant if you came across a bunch of hips - you could sacrifice one to see the pulp color. Many hips it seems stay greenish on the outside, but yellow or orange near the center.


Pulp color? - don’t really recall, but if memory serves me right more often it is a deep orange,pithy material when ripe. Will pay more attention later this year when we do our harvesting. I do know that, for curiosity, I have cut open hips that have fallen off after a couple of months and have noticed that the pulp is rather light green as are the seeds. Maybe the pulp is an indication - will have to see.


I really think it is. I’ve noted orange, yellow, and even white as a pulp color in the center near the seed attachment. I like to see juicy colored centers. Of course, I don’t know how predictive this is, but somehow I think it is a good indication. The center is where the seeds get their nutrients. Exterior color is… well… like wallpaper.