Overview

Comprehensive Description

Description

This native perennial shrub produces little-branched canes up to 6' long during the first year. These canes are initially erect, but they eventually arch sideways and downward – their tips sometimes reach the ground. First-year canes are vegetative and do not produce flowers and fruit. They are initially green, hairless, and glaucous, but later turn brown and woody during the winter. Scattered along the length of each cane are prickles that are short and curved. During the second year, these canes develop short branches that terminate in erect cymes or short racemes of flowers. Along the length of these canes, there are alternate compound leaves. These compound leaves are usually trifoliate; rarely are they palmate with 5 leaflets. The leaflets are up to 3" long and 2" across. They are cordate-ovate or ovate in shape and doubly serrate along the margins; some leaflets may be shallowly cleft. The upper surface of each leaflet has strong pinnate venation, while its lower surface is white tomentose (covered with white hairs that are very short and appressed). The terminate leaflet has a short slender petiole, while the lateral leaflets are sessile, or nearly so. The flowers are bunched tightly together on the cymes/racemes. Each flower is about ½" across, consisting of 5 white petals, 5 green sepals, and numerous stamens that surround the multiple green carpels and their styles. The petals are elliptic or oblong, while the sepals are triangular-shaped and spreading; the petals are about the same length as the sepals. The blooming period occurs during the late spring or very early summer and lasts about 2-3 weeks. Each flower is replaced by a compound drupe that is ovoid and about 1/3" long when fully mature. This compound drupe is initially white, later becomes red, and finally turns black-purple when it is mature. Each drupe consists of multiple drupelets, each drupelet containing a single seed. The fleshy drupes are sweet and slightly tart in flavor; they detach cleanly and easily from their receptacles. The root system consists of a woody branching taproot. Vegetative offsets are often produced by the canes rooting at their tips.
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Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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Comments

While the flowers of Black Raspberry are not very showy, the fruit has excellent flavor and is rather colorful. The prickly canes are unpleasant to walk through or mow around, although less so than many species of blackberries. While both raspberries and blackberries are members of the same genus, the drupes of raspberries detach cleanly and easily from their receptacles, while the drupes of blackberries do not. Other native raspberries in Illinois produce drupes that are red at maturity, rather than black-purple. When drupes are unavailable for observation, Black Raspberry can be identified by the following features
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Distribution

National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

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Localities documented in Tropicos sources

Rubus occidentalis L.:
Canada (North America)
United States (North America)

Note: This information is based on publications available through Tropicos and may not represent the entire distribution. Tropicos does not categorize distributions as native or non-native.
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Ecology

Associations

Flower-Visiting Insects of Black Raspberry in Illinois

Rubus occidentalis (Black Raspberry)
(Short-tongued bees collect pollen or suck nectar; other insects suck nectar; most observations are from Robertson, otherwise they are from Reed and Krombein et al. as indicated below)

Bees (long-tongued)
Apidae (Apinae): Apis mellifera fq; Apidae (Bombini): Bombus griseocallis, Bombus pensylvanica; Anthophoridae (Ceratinini): Ceratina sp. (Re); Anthophoridae (Eucerini): Synhalonia speciosa; Anthophoridae (Nomadini): Nomada affabilis fq, Nomada ovatus, Nomada superba superba fq; Megachilidae (Megachilini): Megachile brevis brevis; Megachilidae (Osmiini): Hoplitis pilosifrons, Osmia pumila

Bees (short-tongued)
Halictidae (Halictinae): Augochlorella striata sn cp (Rb, Re), Halictus confusus sn (Rb, Re), Halictus ligatus sn, Lasioglossum pectoralis (Re); Andrenidae (Andreninae): Andrena carlini sn cp, Andrena cressonii sn, Andrena rugosa (Kr)

Wasps
Sphecidae (Crabroninae): Lestica confluentus; Vespidae (Eumeninae): Stenodynerus anormis

Flies
Tachinidae: Archytas aterrima

Butterflies
Nymphalidae: Chlosyne nycteis

Skippers
Hesperiidae: Pholisora catullus, Polites peckius, Polites themistocles

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Faunal Associations

The nectar of the flowers attracts bees primarily, including honeybees, bumblebees, Mason bees, Leaf-Cutting bees (Megachile spp.), Cuckoo bees (Nomadine), Halictid bees, and Andrenid bees. The short-tongued bees also collect pollen from the flowers. Less often, small butterflies and skippers may visit the flowers for nectar. Because raspberries are economically important, insects that feed on the foliage, stems, and fruit are fairly well known. Insects that chew on the foliage or suck sap include caterpillars of various moths, spider mites and flea beetles, and leafhoppers. Insects that bore through canes or roots include the caterpillars of some moths and grubs of various wood-boring beetles (see the Insect Table for a listing of these species). The fruit of both raspberries and blackberries is an important source of food for many upland gamebirds and songbirds (see Bird Table). Raccoons, fox squirrels, and chipmunks occasionally eat the fruit, while rabbits and deer browse on the foliage and stems.
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Rubus occidentalis

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


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Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Rubus occidentalis

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 14
Specimens with Barcodes: 17
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Cultivation

The preference is partial sun, moist to mesic conditions, and rich loamy soil. In areas that are too sunny and dry, the fruit may not develop properly without adequate rain. The canes also fail to set fruit if there is too much shade. Range & Habitat
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Wikipedia

Rubus occidentalis

Rubus occidentalis is a species of Rubus native to eastern North America. Its common name black raspberry is shared with the closely related western American species Rubus leucodermis. Other names occasionally used include wild black raspberry, black caps, black cap raspberry, thimbleberry,[1][2] and scotch cap.[3]

Rubus occidentalis is a deciduous shrub growing to 2–3 m tall, with prickly shoots. The leaves are pinnate, with five leaflets on leaves, strong-growing stems in their first year, and three leaflets on leaves on flowering branchlets. The flowers are distinct in having long, slender sepals 6–8 mm long, more than twice as long as the petals. The round-shaped fruit is a 12–15 mm diameter aggregation of drupelets; it is edible, and has a high content of anthocyanins and ellagic acid.[4][5]

Black raspberries are high in anthocyanins. This has led to their being very useful as natural dyes. Anthocyanins are also antioxidants, so there is interest in black raspberries for their potential nutraceutical value.[citation needed] Preliminary studies to evaluate their benefit for cancer treatment in mammalian test systems are ongoing[6] and a small-scale clinical trial has begun on patients with Barrett's esophagus.[7]

The black raspberry is also closely related to the red raspberries Rubus idaeus and Rubus strigosus, sharing the distinctively white underside of the leaves and fruit that readily detaches from the carpel, but differing in the ripe fruit being black, and in the stems being more prickly. The black fruit makes them look like blackberries, though this is only superficial, with the taste being unique and not like either the red raspberry or the blackberry.

As suggested by the common name, black raspberries usually have very dark purple-black fruits, rich in anthocyanin pigments. However, due to occasional mutations in the genes controlling anthocyanin production, yellow-fruited variants ("yellow raspberries") sometimes occur, and have been occasionally propagated, especially in home/farm gardens in the midwestern United States (e.g., Ohio). The yellow-fruited variants of the black raspberry retain that species' distinctive flavor, different from the similar-appearing pale-fruited variants of cultivated red raspberries (generally the Eurasian Rubus idaeus, but with some being the North American Rubus strigosus, and other cultivars representing hybrids between these two widespread species).

Commercial growing and processing[edit]

A basket of black raspberries
Black raspberries (Rubus occidentalis ) being grown commercially in Korea

The center for black raspberry production is in the Willamette Valley in Oregon. The main cultivar, 'Munger', is grown on about 600 ha (1500 acres). Other cultivars include 'John Robertson', 'Allen', 'Jewel', 'Blackhawk', 'Macblack', 'Plum Farmer', 'Dundee', 'Hanover', and 'Huron'. The plants are summer tipped by hand, mechanically pruned in winter and then machine harvested. The yields are generally low per acre and this is why the fruits are often expensive.

The species has been used in the breeding of many Rubus hybrids; those between red and black raspberries are common under the name purple raspberries; 'Brandywine', 'Royalty', and 'Estate' are examples of purple raspberry cultivars. Wild purple raspberries have also been found in various places in northeastern North America where the two parental species co-occur and occasionally hybridize naturally.

The berries are typically dried or frozen, made into purées and juices, or processed as colorants. Fresh berries are also marketed in season. Two well-known liqueurs based predominantly on black raspberry fruit include France's Chambord Liqueur Royale de France and South Korea's various kinds of Bokbunja (see Korean alcoholic beverages).

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Germplasm Resources Information Network: Rubus occidentalis
  2. ^ Michigan Bee Plants: Rubus occidentalis
  3. ^ Britton, N.L.; Brown, A. 1897. An illustrated flora of the Northern United States, Canada and the British possessions from Newfoundland to the parallel of the Southern boundary of Virginia, and from the Atlantic Ocean westward to the 102d meridian. Charles Scribner's Sons, New York.
  4. ^ Oklahoma Biological Survey: Rubus occidentalis
  5. ^ Bioimages: Rubus occidentalis
  6. ^ Ohio State University: Black raspberries show multiple defenses in thwarting cancer
  7. ^ Kresty LA, Frankel WL, Hammond CD, et al. (2006). "Transitioning from preclinical to clinical chemopreventive assessments of lyophilized black raspberries: interim results show berries modulate markers of oxidative stress in Barrett's esophagus patients". Nutr Cancer 54 (1): 148–56. doi:10.1207/s15327914nc5401_15. PMID 16800781. 
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