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Fields, Forests & Wetlands Foods of Eastern North America

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Cloudberry (By: Philipum)


Season: Mainly Summer


All the members of this family are technically different, but as far as I'm concerned, I treat them as basically the same. Whichever one I find, I eat. There seems to be some members of this family almost everywhere. In the city, I have found them along fence edges, along rivers, in fields and along bike paths. The bushes do have thorns, as they are part of the Rose (Rosaceae) family. I have noticed there can very often be Poison Ivy, Western Poison Ivy and the very dangerous Poison Sumac where any of these grow, so be careful. Also, I've noticed that inexperienced people can confuse Poison Ivy leaves for leaves of some in this group like the Blackberry and Raspberry. Know what each looks like, and be cautious when approaching anything you think might be Blackberry, Raspberry or the others. One more thing: even if you do know it is a Raspberry or Blackberry, take a look around before going in and picking, as you can have both in the same spot and sometimes you forget yourself when you see a great harvest in front of you.

So how do you distinguish between a Blackberry and a Black Raspberry or other Raspberries? Simple. When you pick the ripe fruit of a Blackberry, the center (torus) stays with the fruit, whereas when you pick any kind of Raspberry, the center (torus) stays with the bush, and you get the hollow fruit only.

Pick and eat, or pick and take home. They freeze well, cook well and go great in baked goods.


Growing these plants in your home garden:

For detailed growing instructions, go to my Wild Foods Home Garden website Rubus genus: (Blackberry, Black Raspberry, Dewberry & Red Raspberry) page.




Blackberry

Blackberry.


Season: Summer - Mainly August


Urban, Rural or Both: Both


Description:


range. Distribution map courtesy of U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA Natural Resources Service) and used in accordance with their policies.


Blackberries in stages.jpg

Blackberries at different stages of ripeness. (By: Ragesoss Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic)


Wild_Blackberries

Blackberry leaves and fruit. (By: Caballero1967 Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license)






Black Raspberry

Black Raspberry: (Rubus occidentalis). Can be also known as Black Caps, Black Cap Raspberry, Scotch Cap, Thimbleberry, Wild Black Raspberry. If you find what looks like a Red Raspberry, and it is hard, it probably is just an unripe Black Raspberry. Just remember: A green, Black Raspberry is red.


Season: July


Urban, Rural or Both: Both, but mainly Rural


Description:


Black Raspberry: (Rubus occidentalis) range. Distribution map courtesy of U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA Natural Resources Service) and used in accordance with their policies.


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Black Raspberry: (Rubus occidentalis) leaves and flowers. (By: Jennifer Anderson @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database)


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Black Raspberry: (Rubus occidentalis) ripe (forground) and unripe berries. (By: Alina Zienowicz Ala z CC BY-SA 3.0)


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Black Raspberry: (Rubus occidentalis) canes in winter. (By: User:SB_Johnny GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2)


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Black Raspberry: (Rubus occidentalis) drawing. (USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database / Britton, N.L., and A. Brown. 1913. An illustrated flora of the northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions. 3 vols. Charles Scribner's Sons, New York. Vol. 2: 277.)




Cloudberry

Cloudberry (Rubus chamaemorus). Also known as the Knotberry and Bakeapple. I don't know a lot about these personally - they don't seem to grow where I've lived. For the most part, they live in northern regions.


Urban, Rural or Both: Rural


They produce fruit that looks like a light tangerine-orange to gold-yellow colored version of the Raspberry. They are in the same family as the Raspberry and Blackberry. All in this family produce fruit that are drupelets - tight bunches of drupes.

They grow 1025 cm (4-10 inches) tall and you will only find them in wet, high acid soils. If you live where there are soil conditions like that, look for them. I lived in Central Ontario for years just South-East of Algonquin park, but never found them even though there were lots of spots in this area that had the right conditions.

Even though I have not personally found them, I mention them as I've read and heard they are very good tasting fresh and make a great jam. So if you see what looks like a yellow-orange (amber) raspberry on a low plant in a damp acid soil area, do some research, you might be in for a treat.


Description:


Cloudberry (Rubus chamaemorus) range. Distribution map courtesy of U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA Natural Resources Service) and used in accordance with their policies.


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Cloudberry (Rubus chamaemorus) illustration. (By: Bilder ur Nordens Flora)


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Cloudberry (Rubus chamaemorus) leaves and cloudberry ready to pick. (By: Primordial~commonswiki GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2)


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Cloudberry (Rubus chamaemorus) leaves in fall colors. (By: Arnstein Rønning CC BY-SA 3.0)


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Cloudberry (Rubus chamaemorus) in flower. (By: Jörg Hempel Attribution 2.0 Generic)


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Cloudberry (Rubus chamaemorus) in September at high altitude location. (By: Bjoertvedt CC BY-SA 3.0)




Dewberry Group

Dewberry Group. There are a few in this group, but the only one that I know of in my area that is good enough to eat is the Northern Dewberry or Common Dewberry. A Dewberry is very similar to a Blackberry, but instead of growing on upright canes, it is a low growing plant - that is, the canes bend over often leaning on the ground. Canes can reach a meter (3 feet) or more off the ground.


Season: Late Spring to Early Summer


Since these grow so close to the ground, they are a big food source for all sorts of critters. Keep that in mind when looking for them. Look for a horizontal growing vine with prickles that can cut the skin and trip you when walking among them.




Northern Dewberry or Common Dewberry

Northern Dewberry or Common Dewberry (Rubus flagellaris).


Urban, Rural or Both: Both, but mainly Rural


Growing this plant in your home garden:

Should be no problem, takes well to most environments. If you find some berries, save the seeds and plant. I've personally never seen them for sale at a nursery, so you are probably on your own to find it. I have seen the plants for sale on the web though. Since it roots from where the horizontal vine like branches touch the ground, finding a vine and transplanting it shouldn't be a problem either.


Description:


Northern Dewberry or Common Dewberry (Rubus flagellaris) range. Distribution map courtesy of U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA Natural Resources Service) and used in accordance with their policies.


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Northern Dewberry or Common Dewberry (Rubus flagellaris) plant in flower. (By: Wild Flowers of New York Part 1, Plate 93-B. Page 331. University of the State of New York, State Museum, Albany - Homer D. House, New York State Botanist. Walter B. Starr of the Matthews-Northrup Company, Buffalo, and Harold H. Snyder of the Zeese-Wilkinson Company, New York, photographers.)


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Northern Dewberry or Common Dewberry (Rubus flagellaris) in flower. (By: Fritzflohrreynolds CC BY-SA 3.0)


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Northern Dewberry or Common Dewberry (Rubus flagellaris) leaves and immature fruit. (By: Robert H. Mohlenbrock @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database / USDA NRCS. 1995. Northeast wetland flora: Field office guide to plant species. Northeast National Technical Center, Chester.)


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Northern Dewberry or Common Dewberry (Rubus flagellaris) with ripe drupe (berry). (By: James H. Miller & Ted Bodner - CC BY-SA 3.0)




Upland Dewberry

There is also the Upland Dewberry (Rubus invisus) in the Eastern USA, but I have never had any experience with it.


Upland Dewberry (Rubus invisus) range. Distribution map courtesy of U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA Natural Resources Service) and used in accordance with their policies.


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Upland Dewberry (Rubus invisus) drawing. (USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database / Britton, N.L., and A. Brown. 1913. An illustrated flora of the northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions. 3 vols. Charles Scribner's Sons, New York. Vol. 2: 281.)




Red Raspberry

Red Raspberry: (Raspberry). There are quite a few Raspberries, though the one I am most familiar with in the wild is the Rubus strigosus.

Urban, Rural or Both: Both

Growing this plant in your home garden:

This one is fairly easy to start and grow. These came up in my yard years ago and keeps spreading through gardens and provides good berries for most of the summer.


Description:


Red Raspberry: (Raspberry) range. Distribution map courtesy of U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA Natural Resources Service) and used in accordance with their policies.

Raspberries

Wild Red Raspberries. Picture taken 3rd week of August. These Raspberries are growing well, and have done for years in conditions that break all the normal rules. The soil is clay, it is wet in the spring for a long time, and the pH is about 7.0. These appeared in the yard on their own, and I'm guessing they are a wild variant that has adapted to these local conditions - one of the advantages of transplanting plants that do well in your local area.


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Wild Red Raspberries flower. (By: Walter Siegmund GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2)


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Red Raspberry - Rubus strigosus drawing. (USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database / Britton, N.L., and A. Brown. 1913. An illustrated flora of the northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions. 3 vols. Charles Scribner's Sons, New York. Vol. 2: 277.)


There are hundreds of species in the Rubus genus, and you may find berries that don't fit the three I've mentioned above. Do more research starting with this link: Rubus.




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Important Notes when Identifying
Rules & Cautions
Dangerous Plants to Avoid Touching
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