Black Raspberry

Black Raspberry
Black Raspberry. Rubus occidentalis.
Rosaceae, the rose family.

Plant: Woody bramble with erect to arching, prickly, biennial canes, growing 4'-8' or more, sometimes rooting at the tips when the canes arch over and touch the ground. White flowers with sepals longer than petals are borne in the spring, and black, easily detachable fruit in midsummer. Perennial.
Flowers: White, about 1/2", with five small petals distinctly shorter than sepals, five sepals forming a star, and many stamens. The flowers are organized in loose cymose clusters with 5-10 flowers, at the ends of the canes.
Leaves: Alternate, palmately compound with 3 or 5 ovate, toothed leaflets, 3"-6" across. Whitish beneath. Second-year (fruiting) canes generally with 3-lobed leaves; first-year canes often 5-lobed.
Fruit: An aggregate, easily detachable from a central core, consisting of many small druplets, purple to black, flavorful and sweet when ripe.
Blooming: May-June
Habitat: Overgrown fields, waste areas, woodland boundaries

Comments: Native and widespread in North America, much appreciated where it grows wild, and cultivated for its edible fruit, though not as extensively as the red variety. The easily detachable fruit distinguishes the raspberries from their relatives, the blackberries. Unlike the blackberries with their extensive and continuous variation, the raspberries fall into more easily separable species. The red raspberries found in our area are either the native R. strigosus, or the cultivated European species R. ideaus, or sometimes hybrids between the two.

Where to find it: Forest boundary and brambly areas of the park, particularly on the east side.