Four groups of raspberries, each with many varieties, are commonly grown in North America. These are, in order of introduction to cultivation: The European red raspberry, derived from the wild red raspberry of Europe, Rubus idaeus; the American red raspberry, the cultivated form of the American red raspberry, R. idaeus strigosus; the black raspberry, or blackcap, sometimes called the thimbleberry, also a cultivated native, R. occidentalis; and the purple-cane raspberries, hybrids between varieties of the two reds and the black raspberry. It will be interesting to trace the evolution of these four raspberries.


The red raspberry cultivated in Europe is derived from an Old World species widely and commonly found in the temperate parts of Europe and Asia. It was named Rubus idaeus by Linnaeus from Mount Ida in Greece, though probably not more commonly found on Mount Ida than in many and vast regions in other parts of the Old World. It is now occasionally found wild as an escape from cultivation in the United States, and no doubt has freely hybridized with the native red and probably somewhat with the blackcaps of the New World.

It is idle to speculate as to when the domestication of this raspberry began in Europe. No doubt it crept into fields and was more or less cultivated from the very beginnings of agriculture in the regions where it grows wild. But it did not attract sufficient attention to be called a cultivated fruit until the sixteenth century or nearly 400 years ago. Even then there seem to have been no named varieties, as with the tree fruits at the same time, and not until a century later do named varieties appear.

Some horticultural authorities trace the history of this raspberry as a cultivated plant to the ancient Greeks. But there is little to substantiate such a history. It is a matter of importance to determine whether a plant has been cultivated 300 years or 3000 years. If the red raspberry was brought into Greek gardens 3000 years ago, as were many fruits and vegetables, and has evolved no further from the wild type than now appears, it does not promise much for the future. If, on the other hand, its improvement over the wild type has come about in the last two or three centuries, much may be expected in its continued evolution. Fortunately, the main facts as to the history of this fruit are easily obtainable and may be set forth in a few brief paragraphs, so that one may quickly measure progress in the domestication of the raspberry.

Greek and Roman agricultural writers who lived before the Christian era do not mention the raspberry, though they have much to say about the tree fruits and the grape. Pliny, at the beginning of the Christian era, writes of wild raspberries as having come from Mount Ida, a statement, no doubt, which led Linnaeus to give the plant its botanical name. Palladius, a Roman writer of the fourth century, is credited with naming the raspberry as one of the garden plants of his time, but other Roman writers of the early Christian era, as Virgil and Columella, say nothing of it. Charlemagne, King of the Franks, at the beginning of the ninth century, left a record of a long list of vegetables and fruits to be grown in his garden, but the raspberry is not among them. The first list of English vegetables and fruits, The Forme of Cury, published in 1391, does not enroll the raspberry;

It is safe to put the date of the first record of cultivated raspberries as 1548 when Turner, the English herbalist, says of them "they growe in certayne gardines in Englande." Nearly a century later, 1618, William Lawson, another English farm writer, in his A New Orchard and Garden gives a pretty picture of a garden in which raspberries and currants border the paths. But it is not until 1629 that any writer on cultivated plants more than mentions the raspberry as a garden plant. At the date given Parkinson1 published his Paradisi in Sole Paradisus Terrestris, the third part of which is called The Orchard, and the first chapter of which is devoted to the raspberry. All of this short chapter is of interest and is here reproduced. To give the chapter its proper setting Parkinson's introduction to The Orchard must also be copied.

"The Orchard

" Containing all sorts of trees bearing fruit for mans use to eate, proper and fit for to plant an Orchard in our climate and countrie; I bound it with this limitation, because both Dates, Olives, and other fruits, are planted in the Orchards of Spaine, Italy, and other hot countries, which will not abide in ours. Yet herein I will declare whatsoever Art, striving with Nature, can cause to prosper with us, that whosoever will, may see what can bee effected in our countrie. And first to begin with the lower shrubbes or bushes, and after ascend to the higher trees." Then follows a discussion of the raspberry.

" The Raspis berrie is of two sorts, white and red, not differing in the forme either of bush, leafe, or berry, but onely in the colour and taste of the fruit. The Raspis bush hath tender whitish stemmes, with reddish small prickes like haires set round about them, especially at the first when they are young; but when they grow old they become more wooddy and firme, without any shew of thornes or prickles upon them, and hath onely a little hairinesse that covereth them: the leaves are somewhat rough or rugged, and wrinkled, standing three or five upon a stalke, somewhat like unto Roses, but greater, and of a grayer greene colour: the flowers are small, made of fine whitish round leaves, with a dash as it were of bluish cast over them, many standing together, yet every one upon his owne stalke, at the tops of the branches; after which come up small berries, somewhat bigger than Strawberries, and longer, either red or white, made of many graines, more eminent then in the Strawberry, with a kinde of douninesse cast over them, of a pleasant taste, yet somewhat sowre, and nothing so pleasant as the Strawberrie. The white Raspis is a little more pleasant then the red, wherein there is small seede inclosed: the rootes creepe under ground verie farre, and shoote up againe in many places, much encreasing thereby,

" There is another whose stemme and branches are wholly without prickles: the fruit is red, and somewhat longer, and a little more sharpe,

" The leaves of Raspis may be used for want of Bramble leaves in gargles, and other decoctions that are cooling and drying, although not fully to that effect.

" The Conserve or Syrupe made of the berries, is effectuall to coole an hot stomacke, helping to refresh and quicken up those that are overcome with faintnesse.

" The berries are eaten in the Summer time, as an afternoones dish, to please the taste of the sicke as well as the sound.

"The juyce and the distilled water of the berries are verie comfortable and cordiall.

" It is generally held of many, but how true I know not, that the red wine that is usually sold at the Vintners, is made of the berries of Raspis that grow in colder countries, which giveth it a kinde of harshnesse: And also that of the same berries growing in hotter climates, which giveth unto the wine a more pleasant sweetnesse, is made that wine which the Vintners call Alligant: but we have a Vine or Grape come to us under the name of the Alligant Grape, as you shall finde it set downe hereafter among the Grapes; and therefore it is likely to be but an opinion, and no truth in this, as it may be also in the other."

In John Rea's Flora, Ceres and Pomona, 1665, is a catalog of the garden plants of the time. From the introduction to The Third Book, Pomona, one would expect to find raspberries mentioned if they were commonly grown at the time. Rea2 says that his book on Pomona: "Acquaints you with the finest Garden-fruits, Vines et Berries, our English Nurceries do afford; as also with so#ie Flower-bearing Trees, Shrubs, and Greens, more familliar than those you find in the first book; with the order that is to be used in their Propagation, Planting and Improvement."

Rea discusses most excellently all of the tree fruits we now grow in America including such rarities as the service-tree, medlar, persimmon, cornus, and mulberry, and has full and very good descriptions and cultural directions for gooseberries, currants, and barberries, but does not mention the brambles or the strawberry.

For a century after Parkinson's great herbal was published the raspberry was barely spoken of in the dozen or more garden and orchard books of the times. Just a hundred years after, Batty Langley's Pomona appeared, to take rank as about the best of the early English books on fruit. Here one might expect a fuller discussion of the cultivated brambles, yet there is scarcely as much as in Parkinson. Langley3 names but three kinds as follows: " We have but three Kinds of Rasberries in England, viz. The White, the Red, and the Purple: The wood of the White and Red is of a bright Colour, and almost smooth; but that of the Purple is a dark Brown, and very thick set with small prickly Excrescences."

Of these he4 says: "The Scarlet Rasberry (Fig. V, Plate LVI) is the most common, and first ripe June 1, 1727; 'tis a very fragrant pleasant Fruit, and a great Bearer. The White Rasberry mixTd with the Red, makes a beautiful Appearance at the Table, and therefore we must not fail of having some of them for that Purpose, notwithstanding that they are not in such great Esteem as the Scarlet."

The next account worth recording is that of Hitt5 in A Treatise of Fruit-trees, 1757, in which four groups are named, for it can hardly be said that true varietal names were yet in use for any of the raspberries. Hitt writes: "The rasberry plant cannot properly be called a fruit-tree, yet as the fruit is valuable, I shall give my method of planting, dressing, etc. I am only acquainted with four kinds, except the flowering sort, viz. the common small red, and white; the other two sorts are much larger, of the same colour, and are called rombullions; the former has the richest flavour, but in dry seasons they are apt to wither if they are planted upon sand or gravelly land, but will bear well on loam or clay, that is not too wet."

Thomas Mawe and John Abercrombie,6 great authorities on gardening in the last half of the eighteenth century, wrote the Universal Gardener and Botanist; or a General Dictionary of Gardening and Botany. The book quite lives up to the pretentious title, and one may well expect that all of the varieties of raspberries known would be listed. Assuming that such is the case, the number of sorts at this late date in pomological history, 1778, is but four, as follows: "Varieties. Common red Raspberry white-fruited Raspberry twice-bearing red, and white Raspberry, producing the first crop of fruit in July, and the second in September; and is esteemed a curiosity smooth Raspberry, the stalks, etc. being devoid of armature." This quotation is of particular interest as it contains an early if not the first reference to double-cropping raspberries.

The next notice of raspberries in England worth recording is found in the second edition of George Brookshaw's Pomona Brittanica, 1817, *n which three varieties are named and are illustrated in a very good colored plate. The three varieties are "Red and White Antwerp, and the Common Raspberries." In describing the White Antwerp Brookshaw condemns all raspberries with faint praise. He says: "Raspberries not being so rich in their flavor as strawberries, are not much eaten alone; their smell is more grateful than their taste."

A little later, 1823, in his Horticultural Repository, Brookshaw7 illustrates only the Red and White Antwerps but gives this interesting account of the raspberry:

"The Raspberry was anciently called Raspisberry, and, in some countries, Hind-berry; it is a native of many parts of Europe, being found in rocky mountains, moist situations, woods and hedges; the Red sort is indigenous to England, growing wild in some parts of the country. The fruit is grateful to most palates as Nature presents it, but the flavour is improved by sugar; accordingly, it is much esteemed when made into a sweetmeat. The ripe fruit is fragrant, subacid, and cooling; a grateful syrup is prepared from the juice. Raspberry and Strawberry wines are highly esteemed for their pleasant flavour; and, when diluted with water, form a safe and agreeable drink in the heats of summer,or, in the more trying moments of febrile suffering. Raspberries are also used to flavour brandy, vinegar, etc. The fresh leaves are the favourite food of kids."

This quotation shows that the raspberry, even a hundred years ago, was not much cultivated, and seems not to have been a popular table fruit, but was grown chiefly to furnish a flavor, a drink, or for a medicine.

Still another quotation may be given to show that the raspberry is a comparatively newcomer in English gardens. In 1826 the Horticultural Society of London published a Catalogue of Fruits.9 This list " comprehends nearly the whole of those which have ever appeared in print in Foreign or English Lists of authority, and as many unpublished kinds as have appeared to deserve record." Yet only 23 sorts with 25 synonyms, are listed. The introductory paragraph10 gives the status of raspberry culture at this time:

"The Raspberries all belong to Rubus Idaeus, and are here separated from the other species of Rubus, as being the only ones much cultivated. That the varieties of this fruit are numerous will be seen by the following list of names, but they are not distinguished generally by gardeners, who do not appear to have paid them so much attention as they deserve. The differences between the respective qualities of the varieties are very considerable. The French names are not introduced, because they are doubtless synonyms with our own, but have not yet been sufficiently proved to be referred to their places."

There is no need to trace the history of the raspberry further in England for the varieties that now begin to appear bring us quite to our own day. Nor is it necessary to attempt to follow the evolution of this fruit in other European countries. Its domestication has not been more rapid in any other of the Old World countries than in England. Perhaps too many pages have already been given to the history of the fruit, the chief object of which is to establish the fact that Rubus idaeus has received the attention of gardeners but a short time, and that its evolution has not gone far, especially as compared with that of the tree fruits.


There was little need of introducing European red raspberries in America or attempting to domesticate the native red until towns and cities were built. Wherever its culture could have succeeded the native plant runs riot in waste places. It is one of the first plants to follow forest fires, to creep into newly cleared lands, and becomes a weed in fence corners and neglected fields. Not until agriculture was well advanced, with little land in waste, could there have been a need for cultivated raspberries.

There seems to be no mention of the American red raspberry as a garden fruit until 1771 when in a list of plants to be sold by William Prince, at Flushing Landing, New York, three raspberries are offered for sale. These are the White, English Red, and American Red. In 1790, in a similar list, the Large Canada is added. Thus it would seem that at the end of the eighteenth century four red raspberries were cultivated in New York, two of which, according to the names, were of the Old World species and two of the New World type. But William Robert Prince in i83iyin a statement to be quoted later, says that English Red is a native raspberry and changes its name to Common Red. So far as records show, the first native raspberry to come into cultivation was the English Red, the origin of which is unknown but antedates 1771.

In his American Gardener's Calendar, the first American book in which orchards and gardens receive detailed attention, McMahon11 has this to say of raspberries:

"There are many varieties of the Rubus idaeus, or European raspberry, but the most preferable are the large common red, the large common white, the red Antwerp, and the white Antwerp raspberries. The smooth cane double-bearing raspberry, is cultivated in some places, as it produces one crop of fruit in June, and another in October; but the fruit are few and small, which has occasioned its being neglected. Of the Rubus occidentalism or American raspberry, we have two varieties, the black fruited; and the red fruited; the latter is preferable in taste and flavour to the black variety."

All of McMahon's named sorts are probably Europeans.

For the first satisfactory account of red raspberries in America we must wait for William Prince,12 in 1828, who says of varieties then growing in America:
"This fruit was originally discovered by the Greeks growing on Mount Ida, whence the specific name Idaeus. At present we have not only many varieties of the above, but several other species, which are cultivated for their fruit in our gardens: among which the Common Red, which is sent to our markets in immense quantities, and is largely used in the making of raspberry brandy; is of fine flavour and much esteemed, and is the most productive; also the White and the Red Antwerp, which are of very large size and high flavour of these the White is generally preferred they are both productive and excellent fruits. The American White and American Black are inferior in flavour, but are nevertheless esteemed by many persons, particularly the white variety. The Twice Bearing, if properly managed, is quite an acquisition. In general, they produce one crop at the usual period, and a less one late in the season, but as a full crop is most desirable, it is said to be best to cut off the whole of the stalks quite to the ground early in the spring, in order to force a strong growth of young wood, which will yield a large quantity of fruit, as it is the wood of the same summer that produces the fall crop. The Red Cretan is a raspberry of delicate flavour; the Cane is also considerably cultivated, and a number of others; the Purple Flowering is only useful as an ornamental plant, its fruit being of no value."

William Robert Prince, son of William, in his admirable Pomological Manual, 1832, gives a much more detailed account of the raspberries then grown in the United States, both as to pomological varieties and as to species. He published clear and accurate descriptions of twelve garden varieties and names six more varieties which " merit culture" He changes the name of English Red, a native berry cultivated as we have seen since before 1771, to Common Red and puts it under R. americanus. This old native, now to go under the name Common Red, seems to be the best known and the most widely cultivated red raspberry of that time. Prince13 writes of it:

"This variety is a native of our state, and grows naturally in the Catskill mountains, but notwithstanding this fact, it is very frequently denominated English Red. The shoots are of a dark red hue, and grow to a great length, often attaining to ten or twelve feet, and even more. On the shoots of the same year the spines at and near the base are of a purplish colour, and those on the upper part, greenish with brown or purplish barbs or points. The fruit is one of the earliest at maturity, of medium size, fine flavour, and held in great estimation, as well for the dessert as for making cherry brandy, etc. Indeed this is the only variety at present cultivated to a great extent for the supply of the New York Market, and there are probably near one hundred acres of land on Long Island appropriated to its culture. The plants do not throw up suckers during the summer season as most other varieties do, but in the spring, young plants shoot up in great numbers, from the small roots on all sides of the main stock"

From Prince's description one sees at once from color and vigor of canes, and method of reproduction, that the Common Red, first native raspberry to attain prominence in American gardens, and for more than a century the standard raspberry in the United States, is a hybrid between a red and the wild black of the Atlantic seaboard. It would be interesting to know its history. Did it originate in a garden or in the wild? Where and by whom was it first cultivated?

Besides the Common Red, Prince describes Red Antwerp, Yellow Antwerp, Barnet, Brentford Red, Tall Red Cane, Short-jointed Cane, Cretan Red, and Prolific Red, eight varieties which either from their history or characters one may feel sure came from the Old World. Three others are natives, of which, Virginia Red, Prince puts in Rubus strigosus where it most certainly belongs. The third native sort, counting the Common Red as the first, Prince calls the Pennsylvanian, which he received " from a London nursery under the title of Rubus pennsylvanicus but have since found to be identical with plants received from the forests of the State of Maine/' Prince may have been mistaken and there is a doubt as to whether this sort comes from the Old World or the New World.

The fourth native sort is the Canada Red which was advertised in the Prince catalog of 1790. Of it the Pomological Manual14 says as to history: " I first noticed this variety growing along the road sides, a few miles from Montreal, where the plants are to be met with in great abundance. The fruit is collected from them by the country people, and large quantities sold in the markets." This variety, it would seem from Prince's description, belongs in R. idaeus strigosus, although our author puts it in " R. canadensis." This is probably the first pure-bred native red Rubus to be truly domesticated.

The list of cultivated raspberries changes rapidly now. Many scarcely survive introduction. Few last more than two decades. But in the early years of raspberry culture varieties were long lived. In the first edition of Downing, 1845, the varieties are much the same as those listed by Prince in 1832. Prince listed eighteen red raspberries; Downing twelve.

Eight of Prince's varieties were described by Downing; four were new. Fourteen of the varieties in Prince's book were European; four American. Eleven of Downing's reds seem to be Old World sorts; only one certainly came from the New World.

In a history of the red raspberry in America tribute should be paid to the work of Dr. William D. Brinckle who devoted many years in the middle of the last century to improving this fruit. His efforts were chiefly with Rubus idaeus and at first thought one thinks that he might have served pomology better had he sought to improve the hardier and more vigorous native red; yet in his use of Idaeus he established a standard of high quality to be found only in the European red and so forced breeders to keep high quality in mind in domesticating the native species.

Another impetus was given the raspberry industry by the publication, in 1867, of Andrew S. Fuller's Small Fruit Culturist. Until Fuller wrote there was no good source of practical information for either the amateur or the professional cultivator of small fruits. The Small Fruit Culturist is an account of personal experience and observation extending over a long period of years and immediately became the standard authority in this field of pomology and so continued for a half century. Before the date of Fuller's publication there had been a score or more American books on tree fruits and about as many on the grape, but not until after the middle of the nineteenth century were small fruits considered of sufficient importance to command the attention of an author. The decade in which Fuller's book appeared, i860 to 1870, may be set as the period in which the small fruit industry as now carried on in North America began.


The domestication of the black raspberry is but begun. It is not yet a hundred years since the first named variety came under cultivation, and many if not most of the kinds that have been named have been brought in from the wild, while probably few or none are more than two or three generations from wild plants. The black raspberry readily responds to cultivation in varied soils and climates, the plants are easily cared for and very productive, and the product is so well suited for dessert, culinary purposes, drying, and canning that the species has within a hundred years become one of the leading small fruits. Plant breeders are finding that it responds well to the breeder's art; in crosses with other species, and cross-breds between varieties within the species, restilts are such that the future of the black raspberry is a most promising one.

Early explorers and settlers on the Atlantic seaboard often mention the black raspberry as one of the delectable wild fruits of the country. It was found from New England to the Carolinas in the borders of woods, as a fringe about fields, around the stumps that dotted the clearings, and came uninvited in the gardens. That it was not earlier domesticated and improved is due to the great abundance of the wild crop; to the preference for the red raspberry, varieties of which were brought from Europe; and to the fact that small fruits of all kinds received scant consideration from fruit growers until recent years.

It is impossible to say when the black raspberry was introduced into cultivation. Brought from the fields into a good garden any wild black raspberry plant becomes markedly more productive, and individual fruits increase one-fourth or more in size. It is a convenience to have fruit at hand and not have to go to fields or woods for the daily supply. Therefore, thrifty housewives must have insisted on having plants of this fruit as inhabitants of their gardens. All of the early American books on fruits mention the black raspberry but do not list varieties. The first named variety seems to have been the Ohio Everbearing, found by Nicholas Longworth, Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1832, and by him named and offered as a garden plant.

Some years before this, about 1825, Thomas Rivers of Sawbridge-worth, England, sowed seeds of a black raspberry and gave the offspring attention through several generations for thirty or forty years. No permanent varieties came from Rivers' work but his experience in part may be repeated, as a very good account of what happens in growing hybrid raspberries. The account,15 considerably condensed, is as follows:

"Some time ago (probably nearer forty than thirty years since) I received from a very old gardener, living at Weathersfield, near Braintree, in Essex, a curious kind of Raspberry, which he called the "Black Raspberry" In the course of years I raised many generations from my Black Raspberry; the seedlings all partook more or less of the qualities of the parent stock, giving berries more or less purple and acid, and keeping themselves distinct from our Red Antwerp and other sorts of Raspberries. Some ten or twelve or more years since I received, among many novelties, from the late A. J. Downing, of America, a plant of the Ohio Everbearing Raspberry. This was planted, with other new kinds, in a department near to my seedling black Raspberries, and, after observing its peculiar nature of bearing a full crop in autumn, it did not attract further notice, as its fruit was small and acid.

"A few years perhaps two or three after the introduction of this sort, I happened to be passing a bed of my seedling black Raspberries which had been raised in the usual way, and observing among them some canes different in colour to the others they had the blue tinge peculiar to the canes of the Ohio Raspberry I paid them very close attention. They bore fruit in summer of a darker colour than those they were growing amongst, and smaller, varying in colour as did the canes. I thought at first that they were sports from nay original black Raspberry, resulting from may I so call it?domestication; and although interested, I was not surprised, this being reserved for the autumn, for then surprise did come, the canes which I had noticed, or rather the young canes of the growth of the summer, putting forth in October an abundant crop of fruit, the canes which had given fruit in summer being then dry and sapless. The colour of the canes, most of them having the pretty blue tint of the sort from Ohio, induced me to think that I had by accident obtained some curious crossbreeds. I now believe this to have been the fact.

"I wished, however, to see the end of this curious outbreak; for I thought why should not other kinds of Raspberries growing near the Ohio Raspberry, and from which seedlings had been raised, receive a stain? I therefore raised a number of seedlings from the first apparent hybrids I discovered, and I have since then raised three or four generations, confining myself to the seed taken from the largest berries of a deep purple colour, hoping to establish a race that might be reproduced from seed without difficulty; for I must add that nearly all my black autumnal Raspberries are like their Ohio parent they make a large stub after being repeatedly cut down, but produce no suckers from their roots. The result of my sowing carefully-selected seed from the finest purple berries produced in autumn is most curious.

" I have had red summer Raspberries, red and pink, flesh-coloured, and large white autumnal sorts; yellow summer and yellow autumnal varieties; small-berried black autumnal Raspberries of gigantic growth making strong canes 15 feet in length, and some dwarf bushes 2 feet in height; in short, such a melange as I think never before was seen in a bed of Raspberries. It would take a long chapter to describe them; but as the greater portion were horticulturally valueless, they have been destroyed. I have, however, settled down to a few sorts, which seem as if they would, with the exception of a few slight vagaries, prove constant. One, a large black autumnal variety, with blue canes, ripening in October; another with large black berries, and with canes not so blue, ripening in August; another with very large orange berries, and another with large white berries, covered with a glaucous bloom, both ripening in October. It is curious to note that the sorts with pale berries put forth suckers from the roots like the common kinds of Raspberries, whereas those with blue canes and black berries put forth none, yet all came from the same source the black autumnal hybrids."

Let us now go back to the Ohio Everbearing. This variety as we have said seems to have been the first blackcap to be named and introduced into American gardens. It is a double-cropping sort and curiously enough had no great value for the normal fruiting season, since the plants were so unproductive, and the berries so small and poor in quality that in competition with summer-bearing sorts introduced later it quickly disappeared. Its introducer, Nicholas Longworth,16 as before stated, gives the following history of the variety: "When driven into the interior of the state by the cholera, in September and October of 1832, I found a raspberry in full bearing, a native of our state, and the only everbearing raspberry I have ever met with. I introduced it the same winter into my garden, and it is now cultivated by me in preference to all others, and my table is supplied from the beginning of June till frost."

Longworth at this time was the greatest pomological authority west of the Atlantic seaboard and the chief American authority on grapes. He now tried to introduce his Ohio Everbearing by distributing plants to friends, writing articles about it to American and English magazines, and by cultivating it commercially at Cincinnati. Yet with all his perseverance, backed by his pomological prestige, it scarcely caused a ripple in the pomology of the times. Not until the sixth meeting of the American Pomological Society, held in 1856, was it ever brought up for discussion. Although introduced twenty-four years previously, eastern fruit growers had scarcely heard of it and there was confusion both as to its identity and origin. At this time, not more than three or four black raspberries had been named. Improvement of the blackcap had scarcely begun in the middle of the nineteenth century.

The real start in the domestication of the black raspberry was made in 1850, not by the introduction of a superior fruit but by the discovery of a better method of propagation than had hitherto been known. The red raspberry, then under cultivation in most communities, is propagated by suckers. The black raspberry throws no suckers and is propagated but slowly and laboriously, if at all, by any method of division. As all now know, its tips bend over in the autumn and take root. H. H. Doolittle, Oaks Corners, New York, almost in sight of where these words are being written, adopted the method of nature in growing the black raspberry, and was so successful that the commercial cultivation of this fruit may be said to have begun with his discovery.

Doolittle, it appears, was much more concerned about his method of propagation than over any particular variety. He went to the fields, for a few years at least, and propagated any black raspberry. The plants he sold were distributed under several names but for ten years chiefly as Doolittle's Improved Black Cap. Leander Joslyn, Phelps, New York, a neighbor of Doolittle, had found a superior sort growing wild which Doolittle propagated and sold as Joslyn's Black Cap. Several other names to be given in the synonymy of Doolittle, in the chapter on varieties, were also used for this berry, but in September, i860, the American Pomological Society formally bestowed the name Doolittle Raspberry on one of the sorts sent out by Doolittle and as such it was grown for some forty or fifty years.

Other named varieties of blackcaps now began to appear, but the popularity of the fruit increased slowly. Wild plants supplied the country, and city people preferred the red sorts. Besides, there were no facilities for shipping and marketing. Bramble fruits, and least of all this one, did not begin to receive attention until the eighties of the last century when in western New York dried blackcaps became an article of commerce and several thousand acres were planted to this fruit. Later, black raspberries took a place in the markets with the reds; they came in demand for home plantations; improved varieties were introduced from year to year; and the black raspberry industry may be said to have been established.


Neither botanist nor pomologist could mistake either of the two red raspberries or the black raspberry for any other bramble fruit. There is a third group of varieties under cultivation, however, which both botanists and pomologists have long been puzzled to place. These are the sorts rather misleadingly known as the purple-cane raspberries.

Prince, in his Pomological Manual, 1832, describes two varieties undoubtedly of this group, one of which he puts in "R. Americanus" and the other in " R. Pennsylvanicus" Fuller, in his Small Fruit Culturist, 1867, supposes them." to belong to the same species as the common blackcap," and then says " but as they have a few characteristics in common, which are not found in the wild blackberry, nor in any other species, I have placed them in a list by themselves." To this group he gave the name " Purple-canes," although there had long been a variety called the Purple Cane. This old Purple Cane he selected as the type of the group which he characterizes as follows:17
"The principal difference between the varieties of the Black Cap and the Purple Cane is in the fruit. The first, as is well known, have rather dry, tough fruit, with a peculiar flavor. Its grains are numerous, and very irregular in size. The fruit of the Purple Cane, as a rule, is rather soft, juicy, often very brittle, the grains separating very readily. Color, varying from light red to dark brownish-purple, but never black; the flavor mild and agreeable, but entirely distinct from those of the true Black Raspberry."

Two years after Fuller wrote, 1869, Charles H. Peck, State Botanist of New York, took these purple-canes to be a distinct natural species growing wild in New York and gave them the name Rubus neglectus, a name still recognized for this group by most botanists. The following year, 1870, C. F. Austin, in the Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club, struck upon the true origin of the purple-canes in his statement that R. neglectus is "a hybrid, I have no doubt, between R. strigosus and R. occidentalism

Bailey,18 in American Garden, 1890, puts the purple-canes in Peck's R. neglectus, and gives the botanical characters which distinguish cultivated purple-canes from the red and black raspberries. He suspects a hybrid origin but does not affirm it. He says: "It has been said that Rubus neglectus is a hybrid between R. strigosus and R. occidentalis, and its intermediate and inconstant characters seem to warrant this disposition of it. But a hybrid origin is not proved, and I am glad that its features have been definitely described before its origin is determined, as it enables us to draw discriminating characters in one of the most confused groups of our fruits. There is no question but that the red and black raspberries will cross. We have made a number of hand pollinations this year, and if I am successful in growing the seeds I shall soon have a hundred or two plants to compare with Rubus neglectus."

Card,19 in his excellent book, Bush-Fruits, 1898, introduces his discussion of the purple-cane group with this paragraph: " In this group I have endeavored to include all those varieties which are intermediate in character between the red and the black raspberry. Not all of these belong to the true Purple-cane type. The Philadelphia and its numerous seedlings are much nearer to Rubus strigosus than to Rubus occidentalis. They propagate by suckers, though somewhat sparingly, and are, to all intents and purposes, red raspberries of a slightly darker hue, while the true Purple-cane type propagates by tips, being like black raspberries in habit." Card at this time believed that there was at least a "purple-cane type." In a later paragraph he closes the discussion of this group with the opinion that the purple-canes are " primarily of hybrid origin."

Soon after Card's book appeared, there was a general awakening, new teaching, and a great stimulus to the work of plant breeding due to the discovery of Mendel's hitherto unnoticed records of experiments in crossing plants. In due course, a number of breeders crossed red and black raspberries and proved definitely what had become very generally believed; namely, that hybrids are common in the garden and in the wild between black and red raspberries, and that many of our cultivated raspberries, probably more than were then or are now suspected, are hybrids. Among those are the sorts that pomologists had been calling " purple-canes."

Can these hybrid varieties be put in a group distinguished by botanical characters? Fuller, Bailey, and Card, most eminent authorities on American cultivated raspberries, as we have seen, assembled the hybrids having purple canes and gave to the assemblage distinguishing marks of plant, fruit, and method of propagation. With present knowledge, these men would probably be less specific in designating characters to the purple-cane raspberries. This brings us to a discussion of the results obtained in crossing these two fruits.

In attempts to improve raspberries through hybridization at this Station the progeny of crosses between black and red sorts to the number of 617 have fruited. The fruits of 606 of these were purple, varying from dark red to almost black; there were no true reds nor true blacks. Eleven plants bore yellow fruits. Purple predominated in cane-color in 376 plants; red predominated in cane-color of 220 plants. Of the 606 plants, 534 bore spines and 72 were spineless. The size, number, and margins of leaflets were exceedingly various, as were the number of fruits and the styles of inflorescence. From these statements one sees at once that hybrids between red and black raspberries are exceedingly variable and that it is impossible to hold them in a species or other botanical or horticultural group.

Of the progeny of purple-fruited varieties self-pollinated to the number of 68, there were 60 plants which bore purplish fruits ranging from red-purple to black-purple with no true reds and no true blacks. Eight plants bore yellow or amber fruits. The canes of 38 plants were reddish brown; of 6 purplish brown; 4 were brown; 10 red; and the canes of 10 were green.

Of the 68 plants, 59 bore spines and 9 were spineless. In manner of reproduction, 64 naturally grew from suckers and but 4 from tips. There is, as these figures show, no stability in the R. neglectus of Peck and other botanists. The progeny of crosses between red and purple varieties to the number of 759, and of red and black varieties to the number of 389, give further evidence as to the characters of hybrids between these red and black species and the great variability of the hybrids.

Besides these hybrids between red and black raspberries there are now many cultivated brambles which are reputed offspring of one or another of the red raspberries crossed with a blackberry or a dewberry. Since these are generally less like raspberries than the other fruits, we may leave them to be discussed with blackberries and dewberries.


Raspberries began to attract attention as a commercial crop in the United States in the seventies or early eighties of the last century, It is doubtful if in 1880 there were more than 2000 acres of raspberries grown in the country. It will be interesting to see what growth raspberry growing has made in the country in fifty years. Fortunately figures for our purpose are available from the Fourteenth Census taken in 1919. Table I gives these figures.

Table LAcreage, Yield, and Value of Raspberries and Loganberries in the United States

in 1919, by Divisions and States.

Division and State


Yield (in quarts)



Geographic Divisions:

New England......

Middle Atlantic.... East North Central. West North Central

South Atlantic------

East South Central. West South Central.



New England:


New Hampshire....



Rhode Island......









,871 ,848 ,774 343 841 270











$413,161 4,112,072












279,254 I3I,H5 177,575 468,715 47,345 270,567

$78,193 38,016 49,720




Table I(Continued).

Division and State

Yield (in quarts) I


Middle Atlantic:

New York..........

New Jersey.........


East North Central:






West North Central:




North Dakota......

South Dakota.......



South Atlantic:



District of Columbia


West Virginia......,

North Carolina.....

South Carolina.....



East South Central:





West South Central:










New Mexico.......








10,467 1,629


3,138 1,988 2,298 9,804 1,620

1,554 2,213 1,695

101 70









14 26

4 515







613 H







11,674,978 2,083,925 2,569,789

2,773.819 1,251,652 1,945,336 7,657]8i9 1,085,881















19,479 3,064





154,351 145

30,234 6,728

80,875 385,5io




677 364,061





$2,917,482 603,742 590,848






357,058 366,065












4;093 795


55,177 2,140


38,544 32

6,958 1,549

20,181 80,958

3,513 160,828


165 80,090


1,266,330 1,756,203


' * Reported in small fractions.

From Table I we see that there were 54,256 acres, and 61,333,509 quarts of raspberries grown in the United States in 1919. Included with the raspberries are the loganberries grown chiefly in Pacific states. The table shows that raspberries are grown largely only in the northern states and in the regions where the two native species grow commonly in the wild. New York leads in the production of this fruit in acreage, yield, and value with Michigan second.

Red, black, and hybrid berries are not segregated in this census report, but the regions in which the three types of fruit are mostly grown are well marked. Most of the red raspberries in city markets are grown in the Hudson River Valley, western New York, southern New Jersey, Puyallup Valley, Washington, and about Sebastopol, California. The most important commercial regions for the black raspberry are western New York, western Michigan, and central Maryland. The hybrid purples are more largely grown in western New York than elsewhere, but there are plantations of them wherever either reds or blacks are freely planted. Local markets are supplied very largely by home-grown fruits in all regions where raspberries can be grown.


As with other fruits, diseases and insects take tremendous toll from raspberries. Their control are subjects for entomologists and plant pathologists, and a discussion of treatment cannot be given space in this pomological treatise. There is, however, a condition known as " running-out of raspberries,'* that is exercising a profound influence on the whole raspberry industry in America that must be discussed. Dr. W. H. Rankin, who is studying raspberry diseases at this Station, writes as follows of running-out:

" More and more during a period of many years raspberry growers have been finding that their varieties gradually lose their vigor and are not profitable; and that the reputation of red raspberries is suffering greatly because the berries from the sickly bushes are flavorless, smaller, and scarcely palatable unless disguised with sugar and cream. Canners are unable to maintain the desired quality in their raspberry products because of this trouble.

" Somewhat similar conditions have more recently appeared in purple and black varieties. Investigations into the cause of the running-out of red varieties have established the fact that a specific contagious disease, known as mosaic, is responsible. This disease is similar or identical to the mosaic disease that in recent years has caused great losses in potatoes, tomatoes, cucumbers, tobacco, and others. The mosaic in raspberries is not spread from plant to plant thru the air or soil, or by contact. The only known method of infection is by plant-lice or aphids which carry the infective material from diseased to healthy plants. From the time of infection all of the future growth made from the canes and roots from year to year becomes more sickly. The new canes are dwarfed and the leaves show small irregularly shaped areas of yellow-green. The leaves, also, are often blistered, curled, and wrinkled.

" Mosaic spreads in certain varieties more rapidly than in others. The Herbert and Ranere (St. Regis) are the outstanding red varieties which are usually found free from mosaic under commercial conditions. The relative rate of spread of mosaic in varieties as observed in New York is as follows: Very slow, Herbert and Ranere; slow, Erskine Park and Newman; moderately slow to rapid, Cuthbert, Columbian, Empire, Golden Queen, June, Ontario, and Owasco; rapid, Cayuga, Latham, Marlboro, Perfection, and Seneca.

"The effect of mosaic upon the plant is independent of the rate of spread in the variety. For example, plants of Herbert, Golden Queen, Owasco, Marlboro, and Columbian are severely affected once they become diseased, while plants of Perfection, Latham, Ontario, and to some extent the Cuthbert often produce vigorous canes for several years after infection.

"Removing the affected plants from one- or two-year-old plantings has proved to. be a successful method of propagating mosaic-free nursery stock. The rate of spread of mosaic into experimental plantings of such stock in New York varies greatly, even on adjoining farms. It appears that conditions where the raspberry aphid is the only aphid which is common, the rate of spread from a distance into the new mosaic-free planting is very slow. In other localities where one or more species of winged aphids migrate to raspberries in large numbers from other plants there has been often a rapid increase to over fifty per cent mosaic in one year. It is unwise to interplant with crops that are known to be susceptible to mosaic. In order to control raspberry mosaic successfully in susceptible varieties more must be learned of the aphid carriers, their habits, food plants, and methods of preventing their migration to raspberries. Resistance to mosaic combined in the same variety with other commercially desirable characters may be supplied eventually by the plant breeder.

"There are two other diseases of raspberries, leaf-curl and streak, which are carried by aphids and which cause the running-out of varieties. Leaf-curl is prevalent in Cuthbert but is not often found in other varieties. The canes are more severely dwarfed than by mosaic, the leaves are crumpled and dark green, and the fruit is worthless. Streak is a disease of black varieties which resembles mosaic in its effect on the plant. The canes are dwarfed, the leaves are slightly curled, and in two or three years the bush is so weakened that it dies. Bluish streaks usually present near the base of the canes suggested the name for this disease. The two diseases, leaf-curl and streak, have been shown to respond to roguing in the same way that mosaic does; new plantings may be made free from them but migrating aphids according to variable conditions may cause rapid reinfection.

"A fungous wilt of raspberries is commonly found in New York, particularly on black varieties. The symptoms caused by this fungous disease include various degrees of dwarfing, after which the bush eventually dies. The fungus is harbored in the soil and such crops as potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant, and salsify are affected by it and should not be rotated or inter-planted with raspberries. No other preventive measures are known for wilt."

1. Parkinson, John Par. Ter. 557. 1629.
2. Rea, John Flora y. 20$. 1665.
3. Langley, Batty Pomona 122. 1729.
4. Ibid. 123.
5. Hitt, Thomas Treat. Fruit-tr. 248. 1757. 2.
7. Mawe-Abercrombie Univ. Gard. Bot. 1778.
8. Brookshaw, George Hort. Reposit. 1:25. 1823.
9. Lond. Hort. Soc. Cat.V. 1826.
10. Ibid. 196.
11. McMahon, Bernard Am. Gard. Cal. 517. 1806.
12. Prince, William Treat, HorL 39. 1828.
13. Prince, William Robert Pom. Man. 2:166. 1832.
14. Prince, William Robert Pom. Man. 2:168. 1832.
15. Card, Chron. 516. 1867.
16. Bailey, L. H. Eo. Nat. Fruits 276. 1898.
17. Fuller, A. S. Sm. Fr. Cult. 146. 1867.
18. Bailey, L. H. Am. Gard. 11:722. 1890.
19. Card, Fred W. Bush-Fr. 177. 1898.