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Wild blackberries

Blackberries are the fruit of many Rubus species grouped together as the Rubus fruticosus species aggregateW, sometimes commonly referred to as "brambles" or "canefruit" (including raspberries).



Common names






Deciduous shrub.[1] Growth habit is long and scrambling.[1] It is perennial but the stems are biennial, fruiting on the second year.

In the wild, it "moves" by putting down new roots where its arching shoots touch the ground.[1]


White flowers in Spring.[1] Self fertile (one plant will fruit by itself).[1] Insect pollinated.


Soil Type

Tolerant of most soil types.[1] Prefers well-drained soil.[2]

Soil pH

Ideal is pH 7.[2]

Shade Preference

Full sun.[1]

Shade Tolerance

Tolerates fairly deep shade (i.e. no direct sun but some indirect light).[1] Fruiting is reduced in shade.[1]



Prefer a sheltered site.[2]


From Seed: Seed requires warm and cold stratification (see Seed StratificationW). E.g. keep seed in a box of sand at warm room temperature for 3 months, then store at 4°c (40°F) for a further 3 months.[2]

Tip cuttings: cut the tip of a cane off and push it in the soil and usually it will root.[2] The simplest method.[2]

Tip layering:

Hardwood cuttings: take in winter.[1]

Plant cuttings, layers, roots or seedlings in late autumn or early spring.[2]

Plant potted or bare-rooted new plants in winter.[1]

Allow 1.8m (6ft) between plants.[2]


The plant can stay healthier and more productive if it is allowed to move.[1] Little maintenance needed.[1]



Fruiting occurs on stems which are in their second year. Generally idea of pruning blackberry is therefore to remove the canes which have just fruited in the last growing season.[2] This pruning is best done in winter[2] when the plant is dormant. Exceptions to the above are "Himalaya" and "Evergreen" varieties which can fruit for several years on the same wood, so should not be pruned hard.[2]



Fruiting occurs from August to October.[1] Fruit ripens over several weeks.[1] In Oklahoma, the berries are picked in the weeks following the July 4th weekend.

When harvesting blackberries, watch out for chiggers (also known as berry bugs, see TrombiculidaeW). These are small mites that can cause rashes and itchiness when they bite.


Fresh fruits do not store for long.[1]


  • Fruit is edible raw, or cooked. Can be made into jams, cobblers, pies, etc.
  • Fruit can be made into wine (see Blackberry wine recepie: Making fruit, vegetable and flower wines#Berry Wines).
  • Bee plant.[1]
  • Young shoots (when spines are still soft) can be cooked.[1]
  • Leaves can be used to make tea.[1]
  • Purple dye from fruit and shoots.[1]
  • Basket weaving (spines can be removed by pulling stems through a small hole).[1]

Nutritional Values