Botanical Name: Rubus occidentalis
Species: R. occidentalis
*Melanobatus michiganus Greene
*Melanobatus occidentalis (L.) Greene
Common Names:Black raspberry. It is shared with the closely related western American species Rubus leucodermis. Other names occasionally used include wild black raspberry, black caps, black cap raspberry, thimbleberry, and scotch cap.
Habitat: The native Black Raspberry is common in central and northern Illinois, but somewhat less common in the southern area of the state from central British Columbia (possibly into Southeast Alaska) to southern California; to eastern Montana, Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico. Habitats include openings in deciduous woodlands, woodland borders, savannas, thickets, fence rows, overgrown vacant lots, powerline clearances in wooded areas. Woodland Garden Sunny Edge; Dappled Shade;
Rubus occidentalis is a deciduous shrub growing to 2–3 m (7–10 feet) tall, with prickly shoots. The leaves are pinnate, with five leaflets on leaves, strong-growing stems in their first year, and three leaflets on leaves on flowering branchlets. The flowers are distinct in having long, slender sepals 6–8 mm long, more than twice as long as the petals. The round-shaped fruit is a 12–15 mm diameter aggregation of drupelets; it is edible, and has a high content of anthocyanins and ellagic acid.
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.
Easily grown in a good well-drained loamy soil in sun or semi-shade. Sometimes cultivated, especially in N. America, for its edible fruit, it is a parent of many named varieties. This species is a raspberry with 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. Plants in this genus are notably susceptible to honey fungus. For polyculture design as well as the above-ground architecture (form – tree, shrub etc. and size shown above) information on the habit and root pattern is also useful and given here if available. The plant growth habit is a running thicket former forming a colony from shoots away from the crown spreading indefinitely . The root pattern is flat with shallow roots forming a plate near the soil surface . The root pattern is suckering with new plants from underground runners away
Medicinal Uses: Preliminary studies to evaluate their benefit for cancer treatment in mammalian test systems are ongoing and a small-scale clinical trial has begun on patients with Barrett’s esophagus.
The roots are cathartic. A decoction of the roots has been used in the treatment of gonorrhoea. The root has been chewed in the treatment of coughs and toothache. An infusion of the roots has been used as a wash for sore eyes. The root has been used, combined with Hypericum spp, to treat the first stages of consumption. An infusion of the astringent root bark is used in the treatment of diarrhoea and dysentery. The leaves are highly astringent. A decoction is used in the treatment of bowel complaints. A tea made from the leaves is used as a wash for old and foul sores, ulcers and boils. A decoction of the roots, stems and leaves has been used in the treatment of whooping cough.
Fruit – raw or cooked and used in pies, preserves etc. It is of variable quality, with the finest forms having a rich acid flavour. The hemispherical fruit is about 15mm in diameter. Young shoots – raw or cooked like rhubarb. They are harvested as they emerge through the soil in the spring, and whilst they are still tender, and then peeled. A tea is made from the leaves and another from the bark of the root.
Other Uses: Black raspberries are high in anthocyanins. This has led to their being very useful as natural dyes.
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.