Japanese Wineberry Plants – Caring For Japanese Wineberries


If you love raspberries, you will likely fall head over heels for the berries of Japanese wineberry plants. Never heard of them? What are Japanese wineberries and what methods of Japanese wineberry propagation will garner you some of your own berries? Read on to learn more.

What are Japanese Wineberries?

Japanese wineberry plants (Rubus phoenicolasius) are non-native plants in North America, although they can be found from eastern Canada, New England and southern New York as well as into Georgia and west to Michigan, Illinois and Arkansas. Growing Japanese wineberries are native to East Asia, specifically northern China, Japan, and Korea. In these countries you are likely to find growing colonies of Japanese wineberries in lowland clearings, roadsides and mountain valleys. They were brought to the United States around 1890 as breeding stock for blackberry cultivars.

A deciduous shrub that grows to about 9 feet (2.7 m.) in height, it is hardy to USDA zones 4-8. It blooms in June through July with berries ready for harvest from August to September. Flowers are hermaphroditic and are pollinated by insects. The fruit looks and tastes almost exactly like a raspberry with a tinge more orange and a smaller size.

The plant has red stems covered in delicate hairs with lime green foliage. The calyx (sepals) are also peppered with fine, sticky hairs often seen littered with trapped insects. The insects play an important role in the survival of Japanese wineberry. The sticky hairs are the plants defense mechanism against sap-loving insects and serve to protect the developing fruit from them.

Also referred to as wine raspberry due to its similar mien, this cultivated berry has now naturalized throughout the eastern United States where it is often found growing alongside hickory, oak, maple and ash trees. In the inner Coastal Plains of Virginia, wineberry is found growing alongside boxelder, red maple, river birch, green ash, and sycamore.

Given that wineberry is associated with blackberries (boy, are they ever invasive) and given its widespread introduction to the ecosystem, one wonders about Japanese wineberry invasiveness. You guessed it. The plant is labeled as an invasive species in the following states:

  • Connecticut
  • Colorado
  • Delaware
  • Massachusetts
  • Washington DC
  • Maryland
  • North Carolina
  • New Jersey
  • Pennsylvania
  • Tennessee
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia

Japanese Wineberry Propagation

Japanese wineberry does self-sow as its rampant spread through the eastern to southeastern states accedes. If you wish to grow your own wineberry, you can also obtain plants from many nurseries.

Grow wineberry in light, medium or heavy soil (sandy, loamy and clay, respectively) that is well draining. It isn’t picky about the pH of the soil and will thrive in acidic, neutral and alkaline soils. While it prefers moist soil conditions, it can be grown in semi-shade or no shade. The plant is perfect for a woodland garden in dappled shade to part sun.

Just as with summer raspberries, prune out the old fruiting canes when they have finished flowering to ready the plant to bear next year’s fruit.


Japanese Wineberry Propagation: Tips For Growing Japanese Wineberries - garden

They may be invasive but wineberries taste waaaay too good to yank up by the roots. Native to Japan, northern China and Korea, wineberries were introduced to North America and Europe in the late 1800s as an ornamental and for the potential to create hybrid raspberries and quickly escaped from cultivation to become a flavorful fugitive.

But I never saw them growing wild here in New York's Hudson Valley until about 15 years ago when a large patch near my family's home in Shokan caught my attention. I'd never seen anything like those jewel-like, red berries. They seemed too dazzling, too showy to be real.

Now I see them everywhere - in the woods around my house, along the side of the road,and in fields. Not so surprising since, like all invasive species, they spread readily -- by seed, by sucker and by rooting the tips of their canes where they touch the ground.

Their flavor is delightful - similar to a raspberry but a little bit tarter and a little bit juicier - somehow it adds up to being even more delicious than a regular raspberry. They are also lightly sticky to the touch, unlike a raspberry's dusky look and feel.

The berries are protected by a hairy, red calyx - a remainder of the flower that blossomed in the spring. As it grows, the calyx opens and peels back until the berry is fully exposed and ready to pick.

There are no poisonous look-alikes in North America, so go ahead and pick some. My advice is to wear long pants and sleeves (there are lots of thorns, ya know), keep an eye out for poison ivy and make sure to check for ticks after you get home.

We went picking yesterday and tramped through tons of poison ivy but it's not a problem - we just stripped down when we got inside, tossed all the clothes in the wash with a generous splash of Tecnu and scrubbed all the skin that'd been exposed with it, too. Between yanking out Japanese barberry (my least favorite invasive), pulling up poison ivy, and picking wineberries, I should really buy stock in Tecnu.

I'd hoped to make something with our small haul (it's really just the beginning of their short season) but ended up giving in to the demands of my hungry children and allowed them to simply devour them on the deck this morning. It was either that or keep tripping over them as they'd been twining themselves around my legs just the way the cat does when I open a can of tuna fish.

But if you get a lot (and/or don't have small children in your house), below are some ideas that you might want to consider. These wild wineberry preserves from Kaela at Local Kitchen have a million yummy uses, this wineberry pie from Abbie at Farmer's Daughter would make a classic dessert, and this wineberry bavarian from 3 Foragers looks really decadent. And, if you imbibe, this wineberry cordial by Ian Knauer on Bon Appetit sounds pretty darn good.


Wineberries—The Forbidden Fruit

Now, I doubt that you'll find these 'forbidden fruits' offered for sale. Wineberries are considered invasive, and generally only appear on 'hit lists' of unwanted plants. You probably heard about them on the show that aired the weekend of June 12th, during my interview with Peter Del Tredici, a Senior Research Scientist at the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University. We discussed his provocative and highly controversial book, "Wild Urban Plants of the Northeast" (2010 Cornell University Press), in which Dr. Del Tredici suggests that many of the 'invasive species' maligned for bullying 'proper' plants out of the landscape could also be seen as successful adaptors that provide food and shelter for wildlife and are often unparalleled at controlling soil erosion.

Like the wineberry, an Asian member of the raspberry family that grows abundantly in the woods around my house. Like Dr. Del Tredici, I admired the ornamental quality of its arching red canes and bright fruits, which we both found to be delicious—although I had discovered their tastiness pretty much by accident.

I became a gardener to please my wife, who wanted more than anything to eat fresh picked raspberries in the summer. Luckily, raspberries are "easy to grow"—a phrase that is generally synonymous with 'invasive' and 'pestiferous'. As gardeners quickly learn, cane fruits like raspberries and blackberries spread by aggressive underground runners that have to be constantly deterred. The trade-off is delicious and highly nutritious fruits, produced on plants with near total invincibility. Raspberries' only enemies are poor drainage and rain at harvest time, which makes the berries moldy as they ripen up.

One year, when Spring was cold and it rained every day, we got NO berries from the early crop (most varieties of raspberry fruit twice on each cane see our raspberry article for more details). Of course, the weather improved dramatically after the last raspberry had rotted, and the wild wineberries put on a bumper crop.

I had picked and eaten a few out of curiosity in previous years, and decided to collect a couple of quarts as a 'consolation prize' for the wife and kids. The verdict was unanimous everyone in the house preferred wineberries to raspberries and I was instructed to thereafter harvest as many as I could, which I do every year.

The berries are both like and unlike cultivated raspberries. Commercial raspberry canes produce flowers that give way to little hard button shaped things that gradually develop color. Until they're fully ripe, raspberries resist picking but when ripe, they pull away from the plant easily, leaving the inedible core behind. Wineberry flowers instead produce little pods (think "Invasion of the Body Snatchers"), which eventually open up to reveal a berry inside. But these on-so-strangely-bred berries (which are rounder than the cone-shaped fruits of raspberries) also come easily off the plant when ripe, leaving the core behind—just like raspberries.

I had always been told that wineberries were "an escaped ornamental", originally grown for their beautifully colored canes and colorful fruits (which were generally not eaten, just visually enjoyed). But while researching this piece, I came across several references to them being brought to this country for use as breeding stock to create new varieties of commercial raspberries. Either way they escaped, and the red canes and bright fruits have become a familiar sight in forests and other uncultivated areas.

The topic of plants deemed to be invasive is as thorny as the canes of these berries. Are they really displacing other plants by virtue of their success? Almost certainly. Has the history of plants always been one of displacement and succession? Almost certainly. Nature is never static, and the rules of Darwin guarantee a constant changing of the guard.

I do not encourage gardeners to plant any botany that has earned the invasive label. And I congratulate those who protect, breed and enjoy plants native to their area. But I do not support waging war in the woods with herbicides or any actions that, however well intentioned, result in habitat loss and soil erosion.

Every summer, as we 'pick' side by side, I can see that songbirds love wineberries every bit as much as my family does. I can see that the tangles of their canes provide a protective habitat for many forms of wildlife and that the superb rooting ability of the plants is unsurpassed at holding soil in place. These are not small achievements.

But whether the named species are plants or people, it's hard to keep emotions in check when a 'least wanted' list is on the table. Still, the berries persist appearing every summer for everyone to enjoy. Try one sometime you might like it.

. That's the news from my little garden where the plants are strong, the birds are good looking, and all the berries are well above average.


The ‘super-raspberry’: How to use Japanese wineberries

Don’t be afraid of trying new fruits, especially ones as delicious as this.

Words: Ben Gaia

There’s no need to be scared of fruit. Some of the best fruits I have ever tasted were bizarre lumpy red knobbly things from busy market stalls in Asian cities. I recently ate my first Japanese wineberries (also known as the Raspberry Bush). Its Latin name, Rubus phoenicolasius, means red-haired from the attractive hairy, sticky calyxes surrounding the raspberry-like fruit.

It’s an attractive ornamental in its own right, but the blackberry-like vines in summer carry simultaneously the orange unripe fruit, the ripe red berries, and yellow star shapes where berries have been picked. The fruit taste just like a sweet raspberry but are shinier and more orange. I call it a “super-raspberry”.

I was surprised not to have seen or heard of it before, but it appears to be rare outside of its native lands in northern China, Korea, Japan and good old Missouri USA, where it is known as a weed.

HOW TO USE JAPANESE WINEBERRIES
The berries are particularly delicious to graze on in the garden so very few will ever make it as far as your kitchen. If you manage to gather a cupful, prepare as for raspberries. Serve as a fresh dessert with strawberries, currants and cream, or best of all, in a mix with ripe blackberries in late summer.

The shiny berries also make a delicious and attractive cake decoration. The wine made from the berries is supposedly an aid to slimming (possibly because you wouldn’t even need food, now would you?). The fruits are also anti-inflammatory, and high in vitamin C.

7 TIPS TO GROWING JAPANESE WINEBERRY
It is no more difficult to grow than a raspberry, to which it is closely related.

1. This vigorous deciduous shrub can grow to 2.5-3m tall in full sun, or at least somewhere warm, even better in part shade or up a wall (facing north).
2. Don’t be fooled – it is also very hardy so I suggest experimenters be less timid with it, since it will also take temperatures down to -8°C and a foot of snow.
3. Water the vines well in summer to plump up the lovely berries.
4. Weed the plot and add manure in spring, cutting out old growth as with raspberries. They like lime.
5. They are very healthy and vigorous, free of the usual raspberry pests and a very abundant biennial cropper, growing canes the first year and fruit the second.
6. You can propagate Japanese wineberries by layering tips and digging them up when roots form. Unfortunately it can also self-layer and “wander off” like blackberry, so keep it trained and tamed along an espalier wire.
7. Cut back tips after fruiting to prevent them heading off country-wide in their seven league boots. This plant is a common weed along roadsides in cooler north-east America where it was introduced for breeding raspberry stocks, but like all Rubus types, if you cut them back they will not invade your garden. Anyway, I believe we have worse things to fear invading the landscape so don’t waste time being scared of rampaging berryfruit!

This article first appeared in NZ Lifestyle Block Magazine.

What? You say you've never heard of (much less eaten) a wineberry? Well, I can tell you that you're in for a real wild-food treat. Not only are these little gems downright delicious right off the vine . . . but when they're simmered into jelly and spread over a hefty slab of homebaked bread, why, wineberries become the kind of food that makes a person give thanks for being born with tastebuds! In fact, my family and I spend months savoring our anticipation of each year's wineberry season (which, in our part of eastern Pennsylvania, is about mid-July), when we can wander through the woods and collect these goodies courtesy of Mother Nature.

A WINEBERRY HISTORY LESSON

A member of the Rubus genus (as are raspberries and blackberries, as well as a dozen or so other species), the wineberry is native to China and Japan. It was brought to this country by way of Europe and sold as an ornamental plant during the later part of the nineteenth century.

Since wineberries (Rubus phoenicolasius) are relatively new to the U.S., they've established themselves in the wild only throughout most of the eastern states so far. [EDITOR'S NOTE: Western folks can grow their own, though. In case you don't happen to live in an area where wineberries flourish, you'll be glad to know that it's possible to purchase plants by mail from seed companies. One firm that offers the wineberry is Burpee (Dept. TMEN, Warminster, Pennsylvania). The folks there will sell you one plant for $5.25, five for $8.95, and ten for $14.75 . . . plus a $1.00 handling charge per order. Burpee advises that the bushes grow best in Zones 5 through 8.]

Like their raspberry cousins, wineberries produce new canes each year, which then bear fruit the following summer. The brambles usually flower sometime between April and June (depending upon climate), and their berries ripen approximately two months later.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN WINEBERRIES

Fortunately, unlike many of their kin (which often seem to grow best where they're hardest to find), R. phoenicolasius appear to possess an affinity for being devoured by hungry berry-hunters .. . be cause their telltale eight- to ten-foot-long canes, which are covered (all year long) with bright red bristles, are remarkably easy to spot. In fact, the colorful little hairs make it possible for a forager to scout out wineberry patches well in advance of harvest time . . . even in the dead of winter, and especially when there's snow on the ground.

The foliage of the wineberry plant is distinctive, too. Its silky green leaves (with silvery white undersides) grow in clusters of three, one of which is always noticeably larger than the other two. White (or sometimes pink) blossoms appear in the spring, but they seem pale in comparison with the splendid array of color that develops as the berries themselves ripen.

Once the calyx (which houses the tiny immature morsels) opens to expose the fruit to the sun, the berries turn from green to yellow to orange, and finally to deep wine red when they're ready for sampling. (Besides having that characteristic coloration, mature berries will be slightly sticky to the touch.) At the height of the picking season, the richlooking berries glistening amidst the lush green foliage and scarlet-furred branches make a wineberry thicket both a dramatic and an unmistakable sight.

YOUR PICK OF WINEBERRIES

When you're ready to visit the briar patch, arm yourself with plenty of containers . . . because wineberries tend to grow in abundance. And be sure to wear good thick socks and high boots for protection against snakes and poison ivy . . . since the tangled clusters of canes are often home to both.

Then, after you've picked your fill (always leaving some to feed your wild neigh bors), tote the treasure on home and put what you don't plan to eat right away (perhaps with honey and cream) into the freezer. Or you might want to whip up a batch of wineberry jelly!

A SCRUMPTIOUS SPREAD: WINEBERRY PRESERVES RECIPE

To make the basic preserve, you'll first need to cook 10 cups of fruit in 1 cup of water until the berries fall apart. Then strain the juice through a jelly bag, making sure to extract as much of the liquid as possible without forcing the pulp through the cloth.

This process should yield about 5 cups of berry juice, to which you need to add 1 box of Sure-Jell. Bring the combination to a boil, and add 5 cups of sugar to the brew. (EDITOR'S NOTE: For information about preparing low sugar-or sugarless-preserves, see "Magic Pectin" in MOTHER EARTH NEWS NO. 59, page 23.]

Now, let the mixture come to a hard boil (one that no amount of stirring will settle down) for about three minutes. Then remove it from the heat and skim off as much of the foam, which will have formed on top, as you can. (Save these skimmings to serve on bread or biscuits for a snack later in the day.)

Next, reheat the remaining liquid to a gentle boil before you pour it into sterilized jars . . . seal the containers with canning lids . . . and submerge the jelly-filled jars in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.

AN APPLE A DAY

Of course, some folks don't like to use factory-prepared pectin. If you're one of them, you can take advantage of the natural jelling power of apples to produce an apple-wineberry spread. To do so, cook 10 cups of chopped apples and 10 cups of berries in 1-1/2 cups of water. Boil the fruit for at least 30 minutes (making sure to stir the mixture occasionally to keep it from sticking to or burning on the bottom of the pan), and-after the half-hour is up-strain it through a jelly bag.

With this done, add 1 cup of sugar for each cup of fruit juice. Bring the mix to a hard boil and let it cook for 5 to 10 minutes. Then skim off the sweet froth (for treats later), pour the rest of the juice into canning jars, and seal them by the method described above.

These few tips should serve to get you started as a wineberry forager and fancier. However, as you and your family become more familiar with the delectable fruit, you'll most likely develop many more recipes of your own . . . provided, of course, that you are able to employ enough will power to avoid eating your whole harvest as you pick it!


Rubus Species, Dewberry, Japanese Wineberry, Wine Raspberry, Wineberry

Category:

Water Requirements:

Sun Exposure:

Foliage:

Foliage Color:

Height:

Spacing:

Hardiness:

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 °C (-10 °F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 °C (-5 °F)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 °C (0 °F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 °C (5 °F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 °C (10 °F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 °C (15 °F)

Where to Grow:

Danger:

Handling plant may cause skin irritation or allergic reaction

Plant has spines or sharp edges use extreme caution when handling

Bloom Color:

Bloom Characteristics:

Bloom Size:

Bloom Time:

Other details:

May be a noxious weed or invasive

Soil pH requirements:

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:

Seed Collecting:

Seed does not store well sow as soon as possible

Regional

This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Croton On Hudson, New York

West Chester, Pennsylvania

Gardeners' Notes:

On Aug 31, 2019, EdibleLandscaping92 from Oak Lawn, IL wrote:

First of all, I bought 4 japanese wineberry (rubus phoenicolasius) plants from ediblegardening.com about 3 years ago now. I am in the Chicago burbs and my area is categorized as being Zone 5b where minimum temperatures range from -10 to -15° F. Wineberry is listed as hardy to USDA Zone 5 (annual minimum temperatures to -20F) on almost all the sources I've seen. However, I have been unable to overwinter my canes either because harsh winter or late frosts. The canes appear healthy and vigorous but have been unable to overwinter and fruit. As you may know, wineberry fruits on 2nd year wood so that is disheartening. I applied a thick layer of mulch this year and I'm hoping for a prolific crop next year. If they fail to overwinter once more I may create a anti-frost tunnel to protect them. I th. read more ink the plants are starting to adapt nicely and I should get a crop as long as we don't have a late frost like this year. It snowed heavily in mid/late april in chicago this year. I understand that wineberry is invasive, but I wanted a permaculture garden with a large variety of edible plants and stuff you can't find in the store. I hope this is helpful information for those in zone 5/6 considering wineberry. It's just not worth the hassle so far compared to the tried and true raspberries. Please leave comments if you can give me information about growing wineberry in zone 5/6. I will keep everyone updated next year.

On Jul 23, 2015, Rickwebb from Downingtown, PA wrote:

This invasive East Asian plant is running wild in southeast Pennsylvania in many places, especially upland woodland edges. The soils are silty clay loams or all clay soils with pH usually about 6.0 to 7.0.

On Apr 19, 2015, RashDecisions from Baltimore, MD wrote:

Negative experience, allergic reaction lasted for 2 weeks+.
Thanks to 'Dave's Garden' site for the best pictures and ID of this plant. I describe my reaction in case case others are 'itching' for an answer.

Spring cleanup at home in Baltimore & I pulled a 4 foot crawler from the fence when it brushed my neck (barely any contact!) but one thorn sticks.

Luckily, I was by chance wearing long sleeves and work gloves as within an hour contact site resolved what I thought was a spider bite or bee sting. 4" circular rash with angry core. Applied topical 1% hydrocortisone (OTC) but endured localized itching and 3 days of 'weeping' (yes, gross).

Lesion cleared significantly, but not completely after 7 days. Secondary reaction apparent as sma. read more ll bumps/ hives on biceps & abdomen came on 10 days after contact & are subsiding now, 14 days later.

Small backyard with no obvious toxic species (ivy/oak/sumac) I'm confident it was the Wineberry. handle with care!

On Feb 21, 2014, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

Two states have banned the trade, transport, or planting of this species due to its invasiveness in natural areas. It's on the invasive plant lists for 6 states. This has become a species of concern to organizations dealing with the environment in the eastern and midwestern US.

Flowering raspberry (Rubus odoratus) is native to eastern and midwestern North America and makes a better ornamental than Rubus phoenicolasius. It has much bigger, showier pink flowers, like single roses, over a long season. The canes have bristles but no prickers. The fruit is ornamental and edible, though I don't find it especially tasty. (I don't care for the Japanese wineberry's fruit, either.)

On Jun 16, 2013, CaptMicha from Brookeville, MD (Zone 7a) wrote:

Wine raspberry is an invasive, alien pest in Maryland. It'll grow just about anywhere and does. The only positive is that it produces edible berries but so would a native raspberry species.

It has soft, fuzzy broad leaves. The canes are thickly bristled with hair like thorns.

Flower buds are covered in what looks almost like red velvety hair. Flower petals are very small and purple/pink in color. Which helps to differentiate this plant from other raspberries.

Fruit is wine red to black and sweet, though small. It's eaten by animals and their droppings spread seeds far and wide, which readily germinate.

On Jun 24, 2009, scirpidiella from Pińczуw,
Poland (Zone 6b) wrote:

Plants grow good even in sandy dry soil. Frost hardy. Very ornamental, even in winter (red shoots). Good grow from stratified seeds.

On Sep 28, 2004, tcfromky from Mercer, PA (Zone 5a) wrote:

This plant fruits even in the shade. Excellent flavor and color. Originally from Japan. Fruits are produced in mid summer on two-year wood.


Tag: wineberry

Today is special for two major reasons. It is a new moon and we’re receiving a much-needed steady rainfall… atlas bringing a halt to the desiccating drought. These rainy days are so pleasant its a good time to be indoors and bring order to things within. I want to share some recent thoughts about caneberries, brambles, or to be more taxonomically correct— the Rubus genus. Being apart of the Rosaceae family the Rubus genus is a widespread group of plants with species found growing on all continents. Rubus spp. have been used for food and medicine since ancient times and some very prominent fruits like blackberries and raspberries are members of this genera. Most folks are only familiar with black raspberries and the two previously mentioned, but there are many other interesting Rubus species worthy of examination and cultivation. There seems to be a term for just about everything… it turns out there’s even a term for the scientific study of members of the Rubus genus— batology. No, not the study of bats. In exploring batology you’ll find that the most commonly cultivated brambles come from a complex lineage…

Rubus phoenicolasius, or Japanese wineberry, is a species native to Asia that has

Japanese wineberry cluster…
Photo Courtesy Wikipedia

naturalized in much of eastern North America. Wineberries are sought after fruits, which like most caneberries, are born on second year canes (floricanes). Apparently the canes can reach 3-6 feet in height and are notorious for spreading quite rampantly. Wineberries are regarded as ‘gourmet raspberries’ and can be processed into jams, jellies, and pies just like regular raspberries. I’ve yet to try fresh wineberries, although last year my friend and colleague, Kevin Brennan, was kind enough to send me a jar of wineberry jelly. Kevin lives on the east coast and loves wineberries. Here is a post he wrote about them a while ago on his blog, The Suburban Trip. Kevin sent an email explaining wineberries and this is what he said:

“The best thing about wineberries is that they are just so abundant. The almost furry berry clusters contain up to 10 berries each and they are super easy to pick in large quantities. I once picked 2 gallons in 15 min. The wineberry produces fruit on 2 and 3 year canes and layers it self and creates large patches. Some spots I go to are in full shade and are still producing a ton a berries, I would really like to try to promote the growth of wineberries in wild gardens for selling to restaurants and farm stands because of the ease of picking. I would like to try saving seed from jelly making and then just throwing them out in slightly tilled areas, or even shitting the seeds like the birds to make patches.”

I love Kevin’s last statement about seed propagation. In fact, he sent me a bag full of seed last year, and I sowed the seeds earlier this spring after a few months of cool-moist stratification in the refrigerator. For a while they didn’t do anything and finally germination occurred. Voilà! No sparse germination either, these babies came up with fury. Now I am potting them up and eventually will plant out my own wineberry patch!

Wineberry transplants and mother flat… Like most members of the Rubus genus, wineberries sport thorny stems… Wineberries and blackberries…
Photo Courtesy Mark Angelini

Another Rubus character of particular interest is R. ursinus × idaeus, or boysenberry. This is a complex hybrid which came about as a cross between European raspberry (R. idaeus), common blackberry (R. fruticosus), and loganberry (Rubus × loganobaccus). The hyrbid was originally developed during the late 1920’s in California by a farmer named

Boysenberries have a tangy sweet flavor.

Rudolph Boysen. He abandoned his farm and years later the hybrid was found and named by two horticultural explorers and berry enthusiasts, George Darrow and Walter Knot. Now nearly 90 years later boysenberry plants are readily available in the nursery trade. I got my boysenberry from a nursery in Ohio and I’ve been growing it in a container. The plants are trailing and entirely non-erect, so they require a trellis if you intend to keep ’em off the ground. This year my plant has ripened a few handfuls of delicious berries which are best described as a combination of a blackberry and raspberry…with the tart blackberry flavor and more of the raspberry phenotype. Like all caneberries, boysenberries are an etaerio or aggregate fruit containing several drupelets. An aggregate fruit develops from the merging of numerous separate ovaries from one flower. On the contrary, a simple fruit, like a grape, develops from a single ovary.

Notice the aggregation of drupelets and how some break apart… Boysenberries grow in tight clusters which ripen unevenly.

Amongst the hundreds of caneberries some other obscure ones are thimbleberries, purple flowering raspberries, dewberries, and loganberries. I’d love to hear about your experience growing or harvesting these luscious drupes!


Watch the video: Japanese Wineberry: an unusual tasty berry


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