Appears in
Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

blackberry is a name which usually refers to the common European blackberry, Rubus fruticosus, also known as bramble; but it is also a collective name for a large group of fruits in the same genus which grow throughout the cooler parts of the world, particularly in upland and northern regions.

There are said to be over 2,000 varieties of blackberry, counting both the frequent and naturally occurring hybrids and the cultivars.

The genus Rubus also includes raspberries. The untrained eye cannot always distinguish between a blackberry and a raspberry, since the shapes and sizes of the fruit, leaves, and thorns vary, and there are both red blackberries and black raspberries. However, when a blackberry is picked, it comes off the plant with its receptacle, the solid centre to which the druplets (the round, juicy parts) are attached. When a raspberry is picked, the cluster of druplets comes away from the receptacle, which remains as a hard, white cone on the stem. A good blackberry has druplets which are large in relation to the hard part.