The raspberry is the edible fruit of a multitude of plant species in the genus Rubus of the rose family, most of which are in the subgenus Idaeobatus; the name also applies to these plants themselves. Raspberries are perennial with woody stems.
Major kinds of cultivated raspberries
Raspberries are an important commercial fruit crop, widely grown in all temperate regions of the world.
Many of the most important modern commercial red raspberry cultivars derive from hybrids between R. idaeus and R. strigosus. Some botanists consider the Eurasian and American red raspberries all belong to a single, circumboreal species, Rubus idaeus, with the European plants then classified as either R. idaeus subsp. idaeus or R. idaeus var. idaeus, and the native North American red raspberries classified as either R. idaeus subsp. strigosus, or R. idaeus var. strigosus. Recent breeding has resulted in cultivars that are thornless and more strongly upright, not needing staking.
The black raspberry, Rubus occidentalis, is also occasionally cultivated in the United States, providing both fresh and frozen fruit, as well as jams, preserves, and other products, all with that species' distinctive, richer flavor.
Purple raspberries have been produced by horticultural hybridization of red and black raspberries, and have also been found in the wild in a few places (for example, in Vermont) where the American red and the black raspberries both grow naturally. Commercial production of purple-fruited raspberries is rare.
Blue raspberry, is a local name used in Prince Edward Country, Ontario, Canada for the cultivar 'Columbian', a hybrid (purple raspberry) of R. strigosus and R. occidentalis. Rubus leucodermis is also known as "blue raspberry" in the context of blue raspberry flavor for candy, snack foods, syrups and soft drinks.
Both the red and the black raspberry species have albino-like pale-yellow natural or horticultural variants, resulting from presence of recessive genes that impede production of anthocyanin pigments. Fruits from such plants are called golden raspberries or yellow raspberries; despite their similar appearance, they retain the distinctive flavour of their respective species (red or black). Most pale-fruited raspberries commercially sold in the eastern United States are derivatives of red raspberries. Yellow-fruited variants of the black raspberry are sometimes grown in home gardens.
Red raspberries have also been crossed with various species in other subgenera of the genus Rubus, resulting in a number of hybrids, the first of which was the loganberry. Later notable hybrids include boysenberry (a multi-generation hybrid), and tayberry. Hybridization between the familiar cultivated red raspberries and a few Asiatic species of Rubus has also been achieved.
Examples of raspberry species in Rubus subgenus Idaeobatus include:
- Rubus crataegifolius (Asian raspberry)
- Rubus gunnianus (Tasmanian alpine raspberry)
- Rubus idaeus (European red raspberry)
- Rubus leucodermis (Whitebark or Western raspberry, Blue raspberry, Black raspberry)
- Rubus occidentalis (Black raspberry)
- Rubus parvifolius (Australian native raspberry)
- Rubus phoenicolasius (Wine raspberry or Wineberry)
- Rubus rosifolius (West Indian raspberry)
- Rubus strigosus (American red raspberry) (syn. R. idaeus var. strigosus)
- Rubus ellipticus (Yellow Himalayan Raspberry)
Several species of Rubus, also called raspberries, are classified in other subgenera, including:
- Rubus arcticus (Arctic raspberry, subgenus Cyclactis)
- Rubus deliciosus (Boulder raspberry, subgenus Anoplobatus)
- Rubus nivalis (Snow raspberry, subgenus Chamaebatus)
- Rubus odoratus (Flowering raspberry, subgenus Anoplobatus)
- Rubus sieboldii (Molucca raspberry, subgenus Malachobatus)
Raspberries are grown for the fresh fruit market and for commercial processing into individually quick frozen (IQF) fruit, purée, juice, or as dried fruit used in a variety of grocery products. Traditionally, raspberries were a midsummer crop, but with new technology, cultivars, and transportation, they can now be obtained year-round. Raspberries need ample sun and water for optimal development. Raspberries thrive in well-drained soil with a pH between 6 and 7 with ample organic matter to assist in retaining water. While moisture is essential, wet and heavy soils or excess irrigation can bring on Phytophthora root rot, which is one of the most serious pest problems facing the red raspberry. As a cultivated plant in moist, temperate regions, it is easy to grow and has a tendency to spread unless pruned. Escaped raspberries frequently appear as garden weeds, spread by seeds found in bird droppings.
An individual raspberry weighs 3–5 g (0.11–0.18 oz), and is made up of around 100 drupelets, each of which consists of a juicy pulp and a single central seed. A raspberry bush can yield several hundred berries a year. Unlike blackberries and dewberries, a raspberry has a hollow core once it is removed from the receptacle.
Nutrients and phytochemicals
The aggregate fruit structure contributes to raspberry's nutritional value, as it increases the proportion of dietary fiber, which is among the highest known in whole foods, up to 6% fiber per total weight. Raspberries are a rich source of vitamin C, with 26 mg per 100 g serving (32% Daily Value), manganese (32% Daily Value) and dietary fiber (26% Daily Value). Raspberries also have a moderate amount of vitamin K (7% Daily Value) and are a low-glycemic index food, with total sugar content of only 4% and no starch.
Raspberries contain anthocyanin pigments, ellagic acid (from ellagotannins, see for instance the polyphenol ellagitannin), quercetin, gallic acid, cyanidins, pelargonidins, catechins, kaempferol and salicylic acid. Yellow raspberries and others with pale-colored fruits are lower in anthocyanins. Both yellow and red raspberries contain carotenoids, mostly lutein esters, but these are masked by anthocyans in the red fruits.
|Top producers of raspberries in tons
Shown in 2011 order
Various kinds of raspberries can be cultivated from hardiness zones 3 to 9. Raspberries are traditionally planted in the winter as dormant canes, although planting of tender, plug plants produced by tissue culture has become much more common. A specialized production system called "long cane production" involves growing canes for a year in a northern climate such as Scotland or Oregon or Washington, where the chilling requirement for proper bud break is attained, or attained earlier than the ultimate place of planting. These canes are then dug, roots and all, to be replanted in warmer climates such as Spain, where they quickly flower and produce a very early season crop. Plants are typically planted 2-6 per m in fertile, well drained soil; raspberries are usually planted in raised beds/ridges, if there is any question about root rot problems.
Raspberries are very vigorous and can be locally invasive. They propagate using basal shoots (also known as suckers), extended underground shoots that develop roots and individual plants. They can sucker new canes some distance from the main plant. For this reason, raspberries spread well, and can take over gardens if left unchecked.
Raspberries are often propagated using cuttings, and will root readily in moist soil conditions. Using cuttings preserves the genotype of the parent, and is the preferred method of propagation when making large plantings.
The fruit is harvested when it comes off the receptacle easily and has turned a deep color (red, black, purple, or golden yellow, depending on the species and cultivar). This is when the fruits are ripest and sweetest. Excess fruit can be made into raspberry jam or frozen.
High tunnel bramble production offers the opportunity to bridge gaps in availability during late fall and late spring. Furthermore, high tunnels allow less hardy floricane-fruiting raspberries to overwinter in climates where they wouldn't otherwise survive. In the tunnel plants are established at close spacing usually prior to tunnel construction.
Selected important cultivars
Numerous raspberry cultivars have been selected.
Two types of raspberry are available for commercial and domestic cultivation; the summer-bearing type produces an abundance of fruit on second-year canes (floricanes) within a relatively short period in midsummer, and double or "everbearing" plants, which also bear some fruit on first-year canes (primocanes) in the late summer and fall, as well as the summer crop on second-year canes. Those marked (AGM) have gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.
- Red, early summer fruiting
- Red, midsummer
- Red, late summer
- Red, primocane, fall, autumn fruiting
- Autumn Bliss (AGM)
- Joan J. (Thornless)
- Fertödi Kétszertermö
- Zeva Herbsternte
- Gold/Yellow, primocane, fall, autumn fruiting
- Fertödi Aranyfürt
- Golden Queen
- Honey Queen
- Kiwi Gold
- Black Hawk
- Ohio Everbearer
Diseases and pests
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Raspberries are sometimes eaten by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species (butterflies and moths). Botrytis cinerea, or gray mould, is a common fungal infection of raspberries and other soft fruit under wet conditions. It is seen as a gray mould growing on the raspberries, and particularly affects fruit which are bruised, as it provides an easy entrance point for the spores.
Raspberry plants should not be planted where potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, or bulbs have previously been grown, without prior fumigation of the soil. These crops are hosts for the disease Verticillium wilt, a fungus that can stay in the soil for many years and can infest the raspberry crop.
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- List of culinary fruits
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- Raspberries & More (University of Illinois Extension)