Common Name: Raspberry, Wild Red|
Scientific Name: Rubus idaeus
Family Name: Rose (Rosaceae)
Other Common Names: Brambles, Brambleberry
Flower Color: White
Habitat: Roadsides, thickets
General Bloom Dates: May - July
This woody, arching cane is full of bristles that will wake you up if you wander through a raspberry patch by mistake. The bristles are not as stout as those of the Blackberry. The flowers are 1/2 inch wide with 5 regular petals. The three leaflets are toothed and heavily veined. The most famous part of the plant is the edible red fruit. The fruit is a many seeded, globe shaped, compound fruit. When the flowers are pollinated, each part makes a fruit that is fused together to provide the multi-part fruit we know as the raspberry. Red Raspberries grow to a height of 2-6 feet.
During the medieval times this plant symbolized remorse. What was the ill this plant caused or was remembered for is lost in history somewhere. We do know that because of this feeling, the fruit was often neglected as a food. It wasnÕt until the seventeenth century that people started eating the raspberry.
There are several plants in this genus. The most popular is the raspberry, but the others are equally enjoyed by the wild fruit gathers. They are Blackberry, Salmon Berry and Thimbleberry. When the berry is picked from a ripe raspberry the receptacle remains on the vine and the berry comes off clean. Blackberries on the other hand are picked and the receptacle remains with the berry. Thimbleberries leave the receptacle but the fruit is much larger and not as sweet or juicy.
Modern Uses of this Plant:
Raspberries are one of the more versatile and well used wild fruits harvested by many people around the country. The easiest way to use raspberries is to simply eat them right off of the cane. They are easily frozen for use in the future or they can be made into jam, mixed in with cereal, added to yogurt and even dried in a fruit leather to take in a lunch box or on a canoe trip. Raspberries provide us with an assortment of nutrition as well as tasting good. Vitamins A, B-complex, and C are found in abundance. They also provide calcium, phosphorus, volatile oil, sugars, citric and malic acids, iron, pectin and silicon.
Raspberry leaves make a good tasting tea, that promotes a healthy body. Drinking this tea will promote healthy bones, nails, skin and teeth. It has been used as a gargle for sore throats, canker sores and loose gums. A word of caution; if you are going to make tea you should use either the fresh or dried leaves, but avoid those that are wilted. The wilted leaves may contain harmful cyanide.