'Real' blackberries?

peachymomo(Ca 8)April 12, 2013

While walking the far end of my property the other day with a friend she saw that we have two different types of blackberries growing wild back there and she said that the thornless ones were 'real' blackberries instead of the Himalayan ones. I assume by real she meant native, and I'm wondering if this is the case. According to my friend the real blackberries are tastier and have fewer seeds than the Himalayan variety, is this true? The thornlessness is certainly nice.

Some day I want a green privacy screen to hide the fence and neighbors in that area, but in this one corner there is very little room between the drip line of my nice oak tree and the fence. Now I'm thinking instead of trying to kill all of the blackberries to make room for something else maybe I'll keep the thornless ones and put up a trellis for them to grow on so they can provide a screen, and hopefully tasty berries. Does this sound like a good or bad idea?

Here are some pictures:

Thornless 'real' blackberry

This picture kind of shows the vine-like growth habit.

Thorny Himalayan blackberry

Good example of the contrasting canes

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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA

Well, not sure if they are "real" blackberries, but it sounds like your friend is referring to the Loganberry, which is "sort of" a native of California. It was found here in California, and thought to possibly be a natural cross between a native California blackberry and a raspberry. It is thornless, and used to be grown quite a bit. They are very good, and have a unique flavor. I would try to get rid of your Himilayan (thorny) blackberries, as they simply take over, they are very invasive. I grow my berries in pots that sit on concrete stepping stones, and I don't let the canes touch the ground.

Patty S.

Here is a link that might be useful: Loganberry

    Bookmark   April 12, 2013 at 6:00PM
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Nice pictures.

The original berry (late 1800s) developed by Mr. Logan was thorny. Thornless Logan is a more recent variety (1933).

Himalayan are introduced, not native.

I'm not aware of any native thornless California blackberry.

It is hard to tell the origin of your thornless plants, but unless the area was obviously deliberately gardened in the past, all those berries may be seedlings from past bird activity.

Most blackberries have the same size seeds, but modern types are bred to have plumper berries and fewer druplets, resulting in a berry that is less seedy per mouthful.

Your trellis / thornless idea is good, you may want to wait and sample some of the fruit before building a structure.

Blackberries in CA zone 8 would make a fair summer privacy screen.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2013 at 11:15PM
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peachymomo(Ca 8)

Thanks for the info, seems like it's not as simple as Himalayan vs native.

I have cursed about Luther Burbank's accidental introduction of the Himalayan blackberry while fighting that patch, I came away bloodied but the patch was defeated... Until they grew back.

Back when my boyfriend and I first cleared out all the brambles we found a raised bed in that corner, it had some struggling iris in it so I think it was a flower bed. Most likely the blackberries were planted by birds, we have a lot of them in the trees around our property and I pull little blackberry seedlings out of all of my garden areas occasionally.

I think I'll go through and pull all of the thorny canes out, leave some of the thornless, and post again when they flower and fruit. Now I'm curious about what we actually have. Didn't Luther Burbank breed a thornless blackberry variety too?

    Bookmark   April 13, 2013 at 10:28AM
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Possibly; thornless may have come after his time. But there are many thornless to choose from.

If you keep after the thorny berries and pull every little cane before it is waist high, the roots may eventually starve out.
Chop at the ground with a shovel, get them several inches below the soil. Otherwise, new growth feeds the root system.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2013 at 11:31PM
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