Black Raspberry

(Rubus occidentalis)

Other Names:
Wild black raspberry, black caps, black cap raspberry, thimbleberry, scotch cap, and various hybrids


Rosaceae – Rose family

Growth Type:
While the plant is perennial, the canes are biennial, meaning they die back at the end of the second year.

The plants send up thorny erect, bent, or trailing canes up to 7ft long.

The leaves on the first year canes of most species are compound and usually have 5 leaflets arranged palmately. There are typically 3 leaflets on the flowering branchlets. The leaves are usually pointed, with white undersides, and have toothed edges.

Thorny erect, bent, or trailing canes. The canes are biennial, meaning they die back at the end of the second year. The cane is unbranched in the first year, and do not produce flowers or fruit. In the second year they do not increase in length, but send out short branches that end in a flower cluster. The plant then sends up a new cane each subsequent third year.

Not Identified

Flower Season:
Late spring through early summer

Flower Appearance:
The distinct flowers have long, slender sepals which are more than twice as long as the 5 petals.

The 1/2 inch berries are composed of numerous juicy spheres or droplets, each containing a single seed arranged around a white central core. They do not usually have as many droplets as the fruit of its close relative the blackberry. The berries contain a high content of anthocyanins and ellagic acid.

Miscellaneous characteristics:
The Rubus genus contains a myriad of species. This genus is specifically fond of hybridization, so you may find plants that have some or all of the characteristics listed here.

Black raspberries are high in the antioxidants anthocyanins. There is an ongoing small-scale clinical trial on patients with Barrett's esophagus.

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.

Dry or moist woods, fields, and roadsides.

Parts Used:
Leaves, berries

Wild Food Uses:
Fruit - Fresh, jelly, pies
Leaves - Tea
Shoots: Trail nibble

The following text is meant for informational purposes only. It is not meant to diagnose or treat any illness or injury. Always consult with a physician or other qualified medical care provider concerning the diagnosis and treatment of any illness or injury.

Medicinal Uses:
This plant, just as all of those in the Rose family has wonderful astringent properties. It dries up mucus discharge. Has been used to treat diarrhea, bleeding, mucous discharges, and the discomfort of varicosities and hemorrhoids.

Astringent, Antidiarrheal, Haemostatic

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