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Rubus occidentalis
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Rosales
Family: Rosaceae
Genus: Rubus
Subgenus: Idaeobatus
Species: R. occidentalis
Binomial name
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, and thimbleberry.[1][2]

Rubus occidentalis is a deciduous shrub growing to 2–3 m tall, with thorny 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.[3][4]

Black raspberries are high in anthocyanins. This has led to them being very useful as natural dyes and, since anthocyanins are powerful antioxidants, to a great deal of interest in them for their potential nutraceutical value. Extensive work has been ongoing at Ohio State University to evaluate their benefit for cancer treatment in mammalian test systems,[5] and the first clinical trials on patients with esophageal cancer.[6]

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 thorny. 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. In much of the Mid-Atlantic United States, black raspberries are simply called Blackberries, even though they are not.

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

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.

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

See also


  1. ^ Germplasm Resources Information Network: Rubus occidentalis
  2. ^ Michigan Bee Plants: Rubus occidentalis
  3. ^ Oklahoma Biological Survey: Rubus occidentalis
  4. ^ Bioimages: Rubus occidentalis
  5. ^ Ohio State University: Black raspberries show multiple defenses in thwarting cancer
  6. ^ PubMed: Abstract


Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From Wikispecies

Rubus occidentalis


Classification System: APG II (down to family level)

Main Page
Cladus: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiospermae
Cladus: Eudicots
Cladus: core eudicots
Cladus: Rosids
Cladus: Eurosids I
Ordo: Rosales
Familia: Rosaceae
Subfamilia: Rosoideae
Tribus: Rubeae
Genus: Rubus
Subgenus: R. subg. Idaeobatus
Species: Rubus occidentalis


Rubus occidentalis L.


Species Plantarum 1:493. 1753

Vernacular names

English: black raspberry

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