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Black Raspberries

Black raspberries not only introduce two new colours – black and purple –Schwarze Himbeeren
into the raspberry spectrum, but also a new growth type and a new, completely different, almost exotic flavour. In contrast to yellow raspberries, black raspberries are not only a mutation of the common red garden raspberry (Rubus idaeus), but they come from another raspberry native to eastern North America, namely Rubus occidentalis. They are associated with the blackberries due to their colour and very thorny growth (they also root like these when they touch the ground), but ultimately they are considered raspberries due to their berry form: unlike the blackberries and just like the normal garden raspberry, the berries (which are ultimately common fruits of individual berries) separate easily from the flower heads and are harvested without the cones. With blackberries, on the other hand, the cones, and thus a part of the flower bottoms, come with fruit and are eaten with it.

Black Raspberries In The Lubera® Garden Shop

Black raspberries can enrich your berry garden; they provide a different growth habit (similar to blackberries) and a new colour, also a special, exotic taste. In the Lubera garden shop, we have selected the best summer black raspberry for you: Black Jewel, which fruits at the end of June to July and unlike some other black varieties also has a good sugar content. As a new and somewhat easier to cultivate alternative, we can also offer you a world first, the purple autumn raspberry Primeberry® Malling Passion (S) with huge, sweet and super aromatic fruits. So if you buy and grow black or purple raspberries, you can now choose between a summer raspberry and an autumn raspberry. However, due to the particular aromatic and health-promoting properties of black raspberries, we are continuing to work hard to promote the breeding of black raspberries – read more in the lower section of this category text: Black Raspberries as Super Food.

   
 
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Raspberry Black Jewel

Rubus occidentalis 'Black Jewel' - Bears fruits on the 2-year-old canes

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Raspberry Primeberry® Malling Passion®

Purple autumn raspberry with an exotic taste, very unique!

From £7.40 *

   
 

Black Raspberries & Purple Raspberries

Purple raspberries are usually mentioned in the same breath as black raspberries and are also closely related. In the 16th to 18th century, the European settlers brought their traditional garden raspberries (Rubus idaeus) to the New World, where they naturally hybridised with the wild black raspberries (Rubus occidentalis). And the result was purple raspberries, which usually dominate the properties of black raspberries (taste, colour, growth) and are therefore attributed to the black raspberries. In parts of New England, and especially in the state of New York, purple raspberries, which were also developed from the 19th century horticulturally, are still the most popular berry fruits today; they are regarded as their own type of berry and are referred to with their own berry name "black caps". We will discuss the breeding of new black raspberries and purple raspberries at Lubera® below.

What Do Black Raspberries Actually Taste Like?

They definitely taste different...unlike red garden raspberries and also they are different to various blackberry species. First, it must be said that the sugar content of many black raspberries is lower than that of the usual garden raspberries. We have therefore deliberately selected the black raspberry Black Jewel for our Lubera® garden shop because it has the best sugar content among the black caps. The real difference, however, lies in the aroma, which could also be described as perfumed and which you can taste, especially in the aftertaste, meaning after eating and chewing: it is a pleasant resinous taste, somewhat exotic and reminiscent of mango, but also with a fragrance of the forest from which the black raspberries originate. Or is the scent that is reminiscent of Retsina wine, which is actually mixed with small amounts of resin? For me personally, black raspberries in general and the new purple raspberry Primeberry® Malling Passion in particular are among the best and most interesting tasting raspberries.

What Are The Benefits Of Black Raspberries & Purple Raspberries?

Black and purple raspberries have many benefits for home gardening:

- Less runners: they usually form fewer runners and rhizomes than normal garden raspberries, so the plant is limited to a smaller space and grows less into other crops.

- Special taste, with exotic resin notes, see above.

- Black and purple: these colours enrich the range of raspberry fruits. It is particularly attractive when the different raspberry varieties are combined with the colours black, purple, dark red, bright red, amber and warm yellow to lemon yellow in a bowl or on a cake. Therefore, it is also exciting and useful to grow all of these raspberry colours in your own garden – and then try them out and enjoy them in the kitchen and sitting room. With our rich Lubera raspberry assortment you will definitely find the right varieties for you – and also the best gardening tips.

- Use the fruit shoots for arrangements and bouquets: especially before the colour changes from red to black, the fruit shoots of the black raspberry look very attractive and can be used well in floristry and for decoration.

-Attractively coloured canes: the violet frosted canes look very attractive even in the winter and they enrich the garden even in this less attractive season.

- Healthy contents (see below).

- Less need for plants because the black raspberries grow much stronger than the traditional red garden raspberries (more like blackberries).

And the disadvantages?

For the sake of completeness and fairness (compared to other raspberries), we must, of course, mention the main drawbacks of black raspberries:

- Strong growth: the strong growth is of course a disadvantage, as you have to tame them with supports and cut them back.

- Strong thorns: the strong thorns on the black raspberries are really a disadvantage. When cutting them it is worth it to wear thick gloves (like when cutting roses). Conversely, black raspberries can of course be used as a living barbed wire against unwanted intruders – the thorns of Primeberry® Malling Passion are slightly less strong and insidious than Black Jewel.

- Root shoots: the shoot tips of the unusually strong growing canes must not reach the ground,because otherwise, like the thorny blackberries, they will immediately root themselves and quickly form an almost impenetrable thicket. Tying them to a support is therefore mandatory!

- Size of fruits: the fruits of the black raspberry Black Jewel are relatively small, at least compared to modern red and yellow varieties. However, they show themselves on fruit shoots, which look almost like fruit umbels and are there close to each other. With our new breed Primeberry® Malling Passion we have been able to greatly improve the fruit size; the single fruits are certainly three times as large as the traditional black raspberries – and are thus at the same level as the red garden raspberries, except that the fruits are very rounded and not cylindrical, cone-shaped.

Black Raspberries As A Super Food

Many types of berries today are said to be super foods: this means that they are not only good and tasty, but also highly beneficial to our health. Countless medical studies, but also the books of the botanical author James Wong point out that the health-promoting properties of black raspberries are even more positive than with red raspberries or blackberries. When we exhibited at a garden festival in England a few years ago, our booth was regularly flooded with the public after speeches from James Wong. Among other things, he talked about the health blessing of black raspberries and kindly pointed out at the end of his speech that these fruits could be found at our booth...

What Exactly Are The Positive Health Properties Of Black Raspberries?

- Black raspberries contain much more antioxidants than red raspberries, ultimately also based on the darker colour and the higher concentration and different composition of red dyes, the anthocyanins. The antioxidant potential of black raspberries, the so-called ORAC value, is three times higher than that of red raspberries

- Black raspberries contain many phenols that can be both cancer-inhibiting and mutation-inhibiting. Ellagic acid stands out the most: 1 gram of black raspberries contains more than 5 mg of ellagic acid

- Black raspberries – like the resinous aroma suggests – also contain tannins. These have a preventative effect against various inflammations, especially in the stomach and intestine. Experiments in mice indicate that black raspberries could also have a curative or at least inhibitory effect against ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease.

Planting Distance And Planting Black Raspberries

Like garden raspberries, black raspberries like a moist, but not wet, rather light soil. If it is still rich in humus (think of the old forest home of black raspberries) then the raspberry will be very happy. We recommend a planting distance similar to blackberries, e.g. between one and two metres, and in rows with the same distance between the rows.

Pruning Black Raspberries

Ideally, the canes should be tied up in a fan-shaped manner with up to four wires on the trellis framework. For the black summer raspberry Black Jewel, which grows on two-year-old canes, we recommend tying the new canes on one side, while the two-year canes remain on the other side. When growing several plants in a row, the same-aged canes of the neighbouring plants are always pulled against each other so that they can grow into each other and have even more space. This also makes it easier to cut after harvesting by always cutting the two-year-old canes that bore fruit from two plants in succession. For the purple autumn raspberry Primeberry® Malling Passion, the whole fan can be filled with shoots on both sides, as they already bear fruit on this year's wood. In February or early March, shortly before the shoots sprout, all of the old canes should be removed except for a stub of 10 cm. However, for canes that have overwintered well, 2-3 specimens can additionally be left at a height of 50 cm to 100 cm. They then bear the first fruits on the side shoots as early as June and July and are then overgrown by this year's canes, which subsequently produce fruit starting in mid-August.

The Origin Of Black Raspberries

As mentioned above, Rubus occidentalis, the species of black raspberry, originates from eastern North America. Their widespread use in the forests, and thus their easy and problem-free availability in the wild, contributed to their late domestication and cultivation in the 19th century. Even before, however, there were often natural crosses between the red, imported from Europe garden raspberries of the settlers and the naturally occurring black raspberries – with the result of purple raspberries that were already known at that time. The breeding and production of new varieties of black raspberries was especially intense in the 19th century, but was faced with narrow genetic limits: it turned out that the genome of the black raspberry is very uniform (homozygous) and relatively little variability is present. The consequence of this is that there are only a few differences, little new things and always the same thing at crossings. Interestingly, the European garden raspberry Rubus idaeus is quite different, which is partly because in its long history other Rubus types have been bred naturally or horticulturally and also because many of the underlying game species are self-infertile and thus could better preserve their diversity. Rubus occidentalis, on the other hand, is self-fertile, which means that this species has always crossed with itself, so that it became more and more uniform. For example, the same process is deliberately used when breeding seed-resistant tomato varieties, where they are crossed for so long until the seeds are very uniform. Breeding can be introduced for more diversity in the black raspberry only by crossing just as diverse red raspberry varieties, which we also intensively try to achieve in our Lubera® breeding programmes.

Breeding New Black Raspberry Varieties At Lubera

Our goal is to make black raspberries and their purple sisters have the special aroma and the colour, have them become more fertile and make them easier to cultivate. The latter implies the ability to produce autumn raspberries that bear fruit on one-year-old canes as well as the breeding of thornless varieties. In our partner breeding programme in East Malling, breeder Feli Fernandez has already achieved two goals in a clever breeding step: Primeberry® Malling Passion produces very large, purple fruits that have retained the special, resinous aroma of black raspberries. In further breeding stages, in which we crossed purple sister varieties with autumn-bearing properties, we have already managed to select a new black autumn-bearing raspberry with very large fruits, which after further testing in a few years' time will hopefully be included in our exclusive Lubera® raspberry assortment. In the raspberry breeding programme at Lubera in Switzerland, we have already created the first thornless purple raspberries. Here, too, more tests and probably more backcrosses are necessary, but it is becoming increasingly clear that we will sooner or later reach our goals: large-fruited, wonderfully exotic and typical, resinous-tasting, thornless, autumn-bearing black and purple raspberries.

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