Rubus idaeus

Botanical Name : Rubus idaeus
Family: Rosaceae
Genus: Rubus
Subgenus: Idaeobatus
Species: R. idaeus
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Rosales

Common Name :Raspberry, Red Raspberry or occasionally as European Raspberry

Habitat :Rubus idaeus is native to Europe and northern Asia and commonly cultivated in other temperate regions. It grows on moist neglected land, hedgerows and woodland edges.

Description:
Plants of Rubus idaeus are generally perennials which bear biennial stems (“canes”) from a perennial root system. In its first year, a new, unbranched stem (“primocane”) grows vigorously to its full height of 1.5-2.5 m, bearing large pinnately compound leaves with five or seven leaflets, but usually no flowers. In its second year (as a “floricane”), a stem does not grow taller, but produces several side shoots, which bear smaller leaves with three or five leaflets. The flowers are produced in late spring on short racemes on the tips of these side shoots, each flower about 1 cm diameter with five white petals. The fruit is red, edible, and sweet but tart-flavoured, produced in summer or early autumn; in botanical terminology, it is not a berry at all, but an aggregate fruit of numerous drupelets around a central core. In raspberries (various species of Rubus subgenus Idaeobatus), the drupelets separate from the core when picked, leaving a hollow fruit, whereas in blackberries and most other species of Rubus, the drupelets stay attached to the core.

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It is hardy to zone 3 and is not frost tender. It is in leaf 11-Apr It is in flower from Jun to August, and the seeds ripen from Jul to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, flies, self.The plant is self-fertile.

Cultivation :
Prefers a good deep well-drained loamy soil on the acid side. Dislikes very heavy soils, light soils and alkaline soils. Prefers an open position but tolerates some shade. Plants crop less well when grown in the shade of trees though they do well in the open on a north-facing slope. Requires a position sheltered from strong winds. Prefers a pH between 6 and 6.5. Raspberries are frequently cultivated in temperate regions of the world, both in the garden and commercially, for their edible fruit. There are many named varieties able to supply fresh fruit from mid-summer to the autumn. High costs of picking the fruit means that little is actually sold fresh, most of the commercially cultivated crops either being used for preserves or grown for the ‘Pick Your Own’ trade. All the cultivars are self-fertile. This species has biennial stems, it produces a number of new stems each year from the perennial rootstock, these stems fruit in their second year and then die. It is best not to grow raspberries near blackberries or potatoes. Plants in this genus are notably susceptible to honey fungus.

Propagation:
Seed – requires stratification and is best sown in early autumn in a cold frame. Stored seed requires one month stratification at about 3°c and is best sown as early as possible in the year. Prick out the seedlings when they are large enough to handle and grow on in a cold frame. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring of the following year. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame. Tip layering in July. Plant out in autumn. Division in early spring or just before leaf-fall in the autumn

Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: FruitRootStem.
Edible Uses: Coffee;  Tea.

Fruit – raw or cooked. Delicious when eaten out of hand, the fruit is also used in pies, preserves etc. Root – cooked. The root, which should be neither too young nor too old, requires a lot of boiling. Young shoots – peeled and eaten raw or cooked like asparagus. They are harvested as they emerge through the ground in the spring and whilst they are still tender. A herb tea is made from the dried leaves. Another report says that a type of tea made from raspberry and blackberry leaves is an excellent coffee substitute.

Medicinal Uses :
Antiinflammatory;  AstringentBirthing aid;  Cardiac;  Decongestant;  Oxytoxic.

Antiemetic. The leaves and roots are anti-inflammatory, astringent, decongestant, ophthalmic, oxytocic and stimulant. A tea made from them is used in the treatment of diarrhoea, as a tonic for the uterus to strengthen pregnant women, and as an aid in childbirth. The tea has also been shown as effective in relieving painful menstrual cramps. The active ingredients both stimulate and relax the uterus. They can be used during the last three months of pregnancy and during childbirth, but should not be used earlier. Externally, the leaves and roots are used as a gargle to treat tonsillitis and mouth inflammations, as a poultice and wash to treat sores, conjunctivitis, minor wounds, burns and varicose ulcers. The leaves are harvested in the summer and dried for later use. The fruit is antiscorbutic and diuretic. Fresh raspberry juice, mixed with a little honey, makes an excellent refrigerant beverage to be taken in the heat of a fever. Made into a syrup, it is said to have a beneficial effect on the heart.

The leaf is the most valuable medicinal part of the raspberry and a tea is traditionally drunk by expectant mothers during the last three months of pregnancy to strengthen the uterus and to ease painful contractions during labor as well as checking any hemorrhage.  This action will occur if the herb is drunk regularly throughout pregnancy and also taken during labor. Although the specific mode of action is unknown, the leaves are thought to strengthen the longitudinal muscles of the uterus, increasing the force of contractions and thereby hastening childbirth.  The gentle astringency of raspberry leaves is also helpful for diarrhea in children, and an infusion makes a good mouthwash for ulcers and bleeding gums. It is used to treat irregular and excessive menstruation.   Externally, the leaves and roots are used as a gargle to treat tonsillitis and mouth inflammations, as a poultice and wash to treat sores, conjunctivitis, minor wounds, burns and varicose ulcers.  The fruit is antiscorbutic and diuretic. Fresh raspberry juice, mixed with a little honey, makes an excellent refrigerant beverage to be taken in the heat of a fever. Made into a syrup, it is said to have a beneficial effect on the heart.  The fruit is nutritious and mildly astringent.

Other Uses :
Cosmetic;  Dye;  Paper.
A purple to dull blue dye is obtained from the fruit. A fibre obtained from the stems is used in making paper. The stems are harvested in the summer after the fruit has been eaten, the leaves are removed and the stems are steamed until the fibres can be stripped. The fibres are cooked for 2 hours with lye and then hand beaten with mallets or ball milled for 3 hours. The paper is light brown in colour. A decongestant face-mask made from the fruit is used cosmetically to soothe reddened skin.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider

Resources:

http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Rubus+idaeus

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rubus_idaeus

http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_RST.htm

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