The blackberries and dewberries under cultivation come from several species of Rubus. The common varieties of these two fruits are all natives of America and spring from American species of Rubus. Two little-known, but quite distinct varieties, Oregon Evergreen and Himalaya, grown for their fruit and as ornamentals, are introductions from the Old World. Both the blackberry and the dewberry are commonly cultivated only in North America, and here their culture is but begun, their history as we shall see, being the briefest of that of any of the small fruits Yet they have become in the few years of their domestication important garden and commercial crops in America, and their cultivation is spreading to other parts of the world. The chapter on the botany of bramble fruits shows that the several species of blackberries and dewberries are widespread on this continent, still little known, that some remain to be brought under cultivation, and that hybridization promises much.

Before further discussion of these two fruits it is necessary to distinguish as best can be done between the two. Cultivated blackberries are erect perennial plants bearing black or occasionally white fruits which do not separate from the juicy receptacle, the last-named character separating them from raspberries which fall from a dryish receptacle when ripe. Dewberries are usually distinguished in the garden from blackberries in being procumbent instead of erect plants. Foliage, flowers, inflorescence, and the many minor characters are various in the two types of fruit according to the several species to which varieties belong. Another distinction between blackberries and dewberries is usually found in the flower clusters of the two fruits. The lower or outer flowers in the blackberry open first and the inflorescence is therefore corymbose or racemose. In the dewberry, the center flowers open first and are few and scattered, so that the inflorescence is a cyme rather than a corymb or raceme. Still another distinction commonly found is that in nature dewberries propagate from tips whereas blackberries propagate from suckers.


The blackberry, in one or another of its many species, is indigenous in most temperate parts of the northern hemisphere, and in this great zone might almost be said to be at once the best and most abundant wild fruit. Their abundance is proverbial. Shakespeare says, "If reasons were as plentiful as blackberries." The abundance of the wild crop, no doubt, is the reason that in all the centuries of agriculture preceding the last no one took seriously to the task of breeding and cultivating any of the many wild blackberries and dewberries. The blackberry is about the commonest wild fruit of Europe and the fruit of some species is quite as delectable as that of our American blackberries, but usually the wild plants supply the demand, although now and then it is found under cultivation. The wild blackberry is often a vicious plant, thorny and self assertive, and the wild dewberry is both vicious and unmanageable, characteristics which have kept both fruits out of gardens.

The domestication of the blackberry began in the United States, though not until two centuries of prejudice had passed on the part of the pioneers from Europe. The blackberry was to the early settlers a briar, a bramble, a pestiferous weed difficult to get rid of and not worth cultivating when the wild fruits could be had in abundance. The early notices of blackberries in the first agricultural books and papers were chiefly discussions of how this vicious and persistent plant could be easiest killed and permanently kept down, with now and then a recipe for making blackberry wine which seemed to be highly esteemed by the colonists as a medicine and a cordial. No doubt plants were occasionally set in gardens but there were no named varieties, and there was no real blackberry culture for commercial purposes until the middle of the nineteenth century when several named sorts were introduced, and interest became keen in cultivating blackberries for home and markets.

William Kenrick in his New American Orchardist, 1833, seems to be the first writer on pomology in the New World to recommend the cultivation of the blackberry in a formal fruit book. McMahon, Coxe, and the two Princes, who had published earlier books on fruit growing in America, do not mention it although the other small fruits are discussed and the barberry, now seldom grown in gardens, received considerable attention. Kenrick1 says of the blackberry: "A shrub rising to the height of ten feet, somewhat ribbed or angled and armed with hooked spines. The fruit, which grows in clusters, is oblong, an inch in length, of a shining black, of an agreeable taste, sweet or subacid and astringent. This plant thrives in a rich moist sandy loam, and is often cultivated in gardens, where its fruit is

much improved in size and its crops very abundant." Under " Uses " Kenrick2 adds: "The blackberry is considered a pleasant and wholesome dessert fruit if used with moderation; it is used in pies, tarts, etc. A jelly is made of the blackberry of considerable medicinal efficacy in nephritic disorders. It is singular that a fruit so productive as the tall blackberry should be so little cultivated. Both species may be propagated either from seed or from layers."

A still earlier reference to the blackberry as a cultivated plant is found in the New York Gardener in 1829, reprinted in the New England Farmer3 May, 1829. It is quoted to show the status of blackberry culture a hundred years ago:

"The Blackberry, or Bramble, one of our native shrubs, well deserves a place in the farmer's garden, and will liberally repay the expense of cultivation. It should be propagated and pruned in every respect like the raspberry, but being somewhat larger, requires more room. It is very much disposed to throw off young shoots from the roots, and unless great care is taken to destroy them, they will spread, and fill the ground, and soon make an impenetrable wild. But this is no difficult task, if the space between the rows is well wrought, and kept, as it ought to be, quite free from grass or weeds.

"The bramble, as well as the several kinds of raspberries, do not ripen their fruit at once, but in succession, for several weeks, as if designed to court our notice, and bountifully to reward the care we may bestow upon their cultivation, by a frequent offer of their bounties. The fruit should be regularly gathered as it comes to perfection, and be directly used after being picked; for although they may remain good on the bush a few days after being ripe, if kept in the house a single day, they will be found to have lost much of their delicious flavor.

"A plantation of these shrubs will come to perfection in three or four years, and if nursed as above directed, will continue fruitful for eight or ten years. It should then be grubbed up, and entirely renewed. Two years, however, before this, a new quarter for this fruit should be prepared."

One gathers from the account just published, and from similar items from the agricultural papers of the time, that blackberries came under cultivation little by little early in the nineteenth century. Probably the nurslings of nature could not supply the demand as cities, towns, and tilled fields destroyed the hedge-rows of wild plants. It was inevitable that sooner or later some one would attempt the cultivation of so delectable a fruit as the wild blackberry for the markets. The first attempt of magnitude seems to have been made by Captain Josiah Lovett4 of Beverly, Massachusetts. Under date of May 15, 1850, he tells his experience to the readers of the Magazine of Horticulture. His letter to the editor reads:

"Dear Sir, Always having been particularly fond of the smaller fruits, after preparing my grounds, and setting out a variety of strawberries and raspberries, about the year 1835, I turned my attention to the cultivation of the high-bush blackberry of our woods. At the season of ripening, I, for several years in succession, travelled through the woods of Beverly, Wenham, and Manchester, in the county of Essex, in search of such bushes as bore the largest and best berries; having noticed the most conspicuous in passing, I placed a stake by, or tied a string upon, each of them, and, returning early in the autumn, or on the following spring, I took up all the marked bushes and removed them to my own garden, or cultivated grounds; this experiment I followed for several years in succession, but in all cases made a very signal failure in the production of any fruit worthy of garden culture, and, I think, in 1840, gave up all hope of ever being able to grow this berry successfully. Several of my friends were no more fortunate in attempting to raise good fruit from canes procured from the woods of New Hampshire, and the trial was, for the time being, abandoned altogether. A year or two later, a cultivator from Dorchester exhibited some very fine fruit of the blackberry, at the rooms of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society, in Boston, and I immediately procured from him a few bushes, and, from that time to the present, I have succeeded in producing good fruit from this stock. I have now in cultivation several seedlings raised from this Dorchester stock that have produced fine fruit, but as yet, none better than the original, and the latter are no larger or finer than I have gathered, with my own hands, from the wild bushes in the woods in New Hampshire, or this vicinity. The variety I now raise is the one I originally received from Dorchester, and this is the only one I have seen cultivated successfully.

"I have planted the bushes in various positions on my grounds, and they have uniformly done well; but I think the largest berries and best crops have been produced on patches near the street, having the wash from the road passing over them. My ground is a strong loam, inclining to clay, over a subsoil of yellow stiff clay. I have given them no particular care, spreading a light coat of stable or pig-pen manure over them once a season, usually in the autumn. In regard to pruning, I have sometimes cut the tops off of the longest canes, so as to make them stand without stakes, and occasionally have staked them up; but I have found those left to trail on or near the ground have done best, and I now uniformly allow them to grow in this manner"

While Captain Lovett was attempting to subdue the wild subjects, only to find them untamable, two contemporaries had better success. Each found a plant less vicious and bearing abtmdantly fruits of larger size and better quality than the average run of vagrant plants of woods and fields. These, in turn, they brought under cultivation, and whether the plants were more manageable, or the men who found them more skillful in introducing them to garden civilization, both succeeded where Captain Lovett failed. The men were Lewis A. Seacor, New Rochelle, New York, who discovered the Lawton blackberry; and Eliphalet Thayer, who introduced the Dorchester, These were the first named varieties, and as such merit a fuller historical discussion than can be given in the brief historical notices in the chapter on varieties. Dorchester is usually said to be the first cultivated blackberry. It was the first named sort, but Lawton first came under cultivation as will appear in the histories which follow.

The accounts of the origin of the Lawton vary as given in the several horticultural magazines of the times but the facts seem to be these: In 1834, Lewis A. Seacor, New Rochelle, New York, found on the farm of a neighbor a clump of blackberries which bore fruits of large size and of different shape and flavor than any he had hitherto seen. Some four or five years later he transplanted several bushes from this clump to his garden. From these he supplied his neighbors with plants, and Seacor's blackberry became generally known in the vicinity of New Rochelle. Sometime in the late forties, William Lawton, also living in New Rochelle, became interested in this blackberry and began its sale under the name New Rochelle. Fortunately we have the story of the introduction of the new fruit as Lawton gave it in August 1853, at a meeting in New York of the Farmers' Club of the American Institute. Lawton's5 account is so interesting and profitable that it is reproduced at some length.

11 ' This Blackberry to which I have before called the attention of the Club has been cultivated in small quantities for several years in New Rochelle, Westchester county, where I now reside. I have not been able to ascertain who first discovered the plant, and brought it into garden culture, but am informed it was found on the road-side, and from thence introduced into the neighboring gardens. As it came to me without any name to distinguish it from the Wild Bramble, I beg leave to introduce it to the notice of the Club as the New Rochelle blackberry, and at the same time present as a specimen a few quarts of the fruit, gathered this morning, precisely as they came from the bushes, without being selected.

I have examined many works with a view to ascertain if there ever has been any improvement on the well-known wild varieties, but without success. The Double Flowering, Dwarf or Dewberry, American Upright, and the White Fruited, are all that are named. The Dewberry is the first to ripen, and the best flavored fruit. The White Fruited seems to be cultivated as a novelty more than for fruit. The Upright variety fruits late in the season, is of vigorous growth, and under favorable circumstances produces large, mulberry-shaped berries, but the seeds are not thickly imbedded in the pulp, and are so abundant as to impair materially the quality of the fruit. The blackberry seems to adhere to its original character with singular tenacity; or, from the many millions of plants which spring up from seeds annually distributed in almost every diversity of climate and soil, we should constantly find new varieties. Improving the wild plant by careful cultivation is one thing; to produce a new variety is another. The fruit now before you I believe to be of the last-named character. It is not like the Dewberry, or long and mulberry-shaped like the Upright blackberry, and the seeds are so imbedded in a rich pulp as hardly to be noticed. I think in shape and size they compare very well with the Hovey Seedling strawberry. The New Rochelle blackberry sends up annually large and vigorous shoots with lateral branches, all of which, under common cultivation, will be crowded with fine fruit, a portion of which ripens daily in moist seasons for six weeks, commencing about the middle of July. They are perfectly hardy, always thrifty and productive, and I have not found them liable to blight or injury by insects.' "

Accompanying the account was a large basket of the new blackberry, many of which, according to the reporter of the meeting, who evidently had a vivid imagination, were three or four inches in circumference. But at any rate the fruit and the talk of the introducer so pleased the club that they voted to change the name of the berry from New Rochelle to Lawton, an action provocative of great agitation in the two leading horticultural organizations of the country for over a decade. The Western New York Horticultural Society held that the first name, New Rochelle, should stand in accordance with the rule of priority, and in 1856 a formal vote was passed to emphasize its position. Later, in the same year, the American Pomological Society voted that the berry should be called Lawton. Might not right prevailed, and more and more the berry became known as Lawton. It remains to be said that for twenty years following its introduction, Law-ton was the leading blackberry of the country, displaced in popularity by Kittatinny in the early seventies.

The history of the Dorchester, first named among its kind, is scarcely less complicated than that of the Lawton. Two men are credited with its introduction, and it was at first grown under two names. August 7, 1841, Eliphalet Thayer, Dorchester, Massachusetts, exhibited a blackberry at a meeting of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society which attracted the attention and excited the wonder of all who saw it by reason of its large, handsome, and well-flavored fruits. It seems to have been introduced under the name Improved High-bush Blackberry and to have been grown under that appellation for some twelve or fifteen years. It was so called in the letter to the Magazine of Horticulture, by Captain Lovett, quoted on a previous page. Toward the end of the fifties, however, with no one in particular as sponsor for the name, by common consent, because shorter, the name Dorchester came into universal use for this fruit. Because prominent in bringing it to the attention of fruit growers, Captain Josiah Lovett was, in the early history of the plant, often credited with having discovered and introduced the Dorchester.

Two other landmarks stand out in the domestication of the blackberry. One was the discovery in 1854, at Burlington, New Jersey, of the Wilson; and the other the discovery of the Kittatinny in the mountains of the same name in New Jersey in 1865. Wilson ripens just after the raspberry season and therefore filled a space almost unoccupied by a hardy fruit, thereby giving fruit growers an opportunity to keep labor and equipment in use continuously. The berries were larger than any before seen, excellent in flavor and were borne in prodigious quantities. The advent of this variety gave blackberry culture a new and tremendous stimulus so that it began to take rank as one of the prominent fruit industries. The introduction of the Kittatinny gave the industry a push in another direction. Until its introduction all named varieties had been so tender to cold that their culture was uncertain in any region where raspberries were grown and quite limited in northern range. Kittatinny was hardier than any, of good flavor of fruit, and all plant characters were satisfactory.

Varieties now began to appear in rapid succession, some of them notable improvements over the sorts that have been named, and several new types appeared. They came as chance plants found in woods or fields; from seed sown to obtain new varieties; and a little later blackberry breeding began through crossing varieties and hybridizing the several species of blackberries and dewberries. The histories and pomological characteristics of all varieties must be looked for in the chapter on varieties, while the botanical characteristics and relations are given in the chapter on the botany of bramble fruits. There are, however, a few types markedly different from the blackberries commonly cultivated that need further discussion.


Among the first varieties of blackberries introduced were several white variations, one of which, the Needham, introduced about 1850, was grown for several years rather widely. From that time to this nurserymen have advertised albino sorts, none of which, however, have ever become more than garden curiosities. The plants as a rule, lack vigor and the berries are never quite up to the mark in size or flavor. The stems throughout are usually greenish yellow, and the fruits are small and creamy white or amber colored. These sports seem to be most common in Rubus allegheniensis but occur in other species as well. They are not uncommon in wild plants, and few who have had much experience in picking the wild fruits have not chanced upon clumps of the white form growing among the normal blacks. There seem to be no records of white blackberries in breeding experiments. There has never been a white variation among the several hundred crosses and hybrids grown on the grounds of this Station.


From the beginning of attempts to domesticate the blackberry, growers have been looking for a thornless sort. A blackberry plant in its armament of thorns is the most vicious inhabitant of the fruit farm. Clothes, hands, and temper suffer in blackberry picking Now and then thornless mutations are found among wild plants, and several thornless varieties have been offered by nurserymen. None, however, have proved of much value in the garden. Of the dozen thornless varieties that have been grown on the grounds of this Station, thornlessness has been correlated with two serious defects,small, poorly flavored fruits, and plants tender to cold. The plants of all have been exceedingly vigorous, but none have been noteworthy for productiveness. It remains to be said that one wild species, Rubus canadensis, long known as Rubus millspaughu, is thornless or nearly so. There are not as yet cultivated varieties of this species, but it is being used as a parent at this Station in crosses with cultivated sorts with the hope that out of the progeny, which has not yet fruited, a thornless sort better than those that havet yet appeared may arise. Bailey6 gives an interesting account of this species which we reprint in part.

"A peculiar bush blackberry, with long wand-like canes, and entirely destitute of thorns, was collected a year or more ago by Dr. C. P. Mills-paugh in West Virginia, at an altitude of 3,500 feet. It appears to be specifically distinct from the common bush blackberry, and it has recently been described as a new species by Dr. Britton under the name of Rubus Millspaughii {Bui. Torrey Bot. Club, 18:366, 1891). Dr. Britton knew no other specimens than those of Millspaugh, except a single leaf of it in Linnaeus' herbarium, in London, collected by Kalm over a century ago. I am inclined to think, however, that the species is generally distributed over the northeastern states. I have recently had good specimens of it from the highest mountains of the Smoky range, North Carolina, above 6,000 feet, collected by Chas. A. Kofoid and Mr. Beardslee. In Walter Deane's herbarium, at Cambridge, Mass., there is a specimen of it from Ice Gulch, Randolph, N. H. (White Mountains), collected by J. R. Churchill in 1889, and Mr. Deane says that there is another specimen in the Gray herbarium from the Keweenaw peninsula, Lake Superior, collected by J. W. Robbins many years ago. I have had canes of a perfectly smooth blackberry sent me from northern Michigan (near Grand Traverse), and I have no doubt that they belong to this species, as the angular and furrowed, perfectly smooth canes of Rubus Millspaughii are easily distinguished from those of the common blackberry. From all these records, it would appear that the species occurs upon our northern borders, and that it follows the mountains southward; and this accounts for the finding of the specimen by Kalm, who traveled in Canada.

"Now, as the canes of Rubus Millspaughii are perfectly thornless, it is important that horticulturists should turn their attention to the species if it gives any promise of good fruit. The so-called thornless blackberries of gardens are only comparatively unarmed forms of the common blackberry. The person who sent me the thornless canes from northern Michigan said that the fruit is good. Mr. Kofoid, who collected the specimens in North Carolina, sends me the following note: ' It seems to be very abundant where it occurs, forming dense thickets of upright stems five to eight feet in height. As late as the 29th of August we found the fruit just turning a faint reddish tinge, and quite palatable and sweet to a hungry man. Natives say that the fruit becomes ripe and black in September. The berries are large, long and slender and very sweet, lacking the sharply acid or bitterish quality of the berries of the lower mountains. There are no thorns or prickles. One can go through the patches unscathed. You may, however, find a few minute prickles on the mid-vein, generally of the terminal leaflet.' This is certainly a promising account.

11 There are several botanical characters which distinguish this species from the common blackberry, aside from the absence of thorns. It lacks almost entirely, except on some of the young shoots, the conspicuously pubescent character of the common species. The leaves are thin and the leaflets are sharply toothed and prominently long-pointed. One of the most prominent characters lies in the leaflet-stalks. Upon vigorous shoots the leaflets are five, and the three upper ones have stalks from one to two inches long."


Two species of southern Rubi pass under the name Sand blackberries. These are Rubus cuneifolius and Rubus probabilisy similar and yet quite distinct. (For botanical differences see these species in Chapter II.) Several varieties belonging to one or the other of the species have been grown on the grounds of this Station in the last twenty years. These are Topsy, Perfection, Nanticoke, and Robison. None have value this far north. The plants of these varieties are of medium size, erect, stiff, and bear the most wicked thorns of any of the cultivated brambles. The berries are small, but the drupelets are large, hang together poorly, but cling quite too tenaciously to the receptacles. The berries have the reputation in the South, as they grow wild, of being well flavored, but transplanted to the garden, especially this far north, they are sour, insipid and worthless. The histories of the varieties just named, as given in Chapter VI, must serve as an account of the domestication of the Sand blackberries.


It is not improbable that the Oregon Evergreen blackberry was the first variety of this fruit to be cultivated in America. The writer, in 1897, as horticulturist of the Oregon Experiment Station, found this blackberry widely distributed and commonly cultivated in Oregon, Washington, California, and the Rocky Mountain States, under the name Oregon Evergreen. In the far west it is one of the most remarkable of all small fruits. Its product is seldom found in the markets, but it supplies countless homes in town and country with a very agreeable and acceptable small fruit from the normal blackberry season in July through the summer until late October. It cannot be grown successfully east of the Rocky Mountains without winter protection in the North and much coddling in hot summers. But even so, because of its enormous productiveness and the everbearing habit of the plants, it is a most promising fruit for hybridization with other blackberries. It is offered by eastern nurserymen under various names, the most common of which are Evergreen, Everbearing, Cut-leaved, Atlantic, Star, and Wonder, varieties which do not differ greatly, if at all, on the grounds of this Station from the old Oregon Evergreen.

The canes are trailing or climbing, often attaining a length of 40 or 50 feet, viciously armed with large thorns, thick and rigid at the base. The plant is almost unmanageable as a cultivated subject, but lends itself admirably as a covering for arbors, porches, fences, and outbuildings. Unfortunately it suckers and spreads so rapidly as to often become a nuisance. The leaves are much divided, well shown in the color plate of this variety, from a plant growing at Geneva, New York. Three remarkable characters make it unique among its kind. It is evergreen; its season of ripening often covers three months; and it bears enormous crops. Three plants are on record at Corvallis, Oregon, which bore in one season 40 pounds each. The berries are of medium size and of attractive appearance, but fall below most cultivated blackberries in quality because of a coppery taste and very large seeds.

There is now no question but that the Oregon Evergreen came originally from the Old World, and that it is a form of the common European blackberry JRubus laciniatus. (See the description of this species on page 83.) But the letters to be submitted show that the plant was introduced into Oregon from some of the South Sea islands at an early date in the history of Oregon. Of all brambles, it seems to be one of the most persistent and self-assertive, rapidly becoming a pest in climates where it thrives as in some of the islands of the southern seas and on the Pacific Coast. The following letters written to the senior author7 in 1897, and published in Bulletin No. 64 of the Utah Agricultural Experiment Station, form an interesting account of this berry in Oregon.

"Replying to your favor of recent date, I beg to say the Evergreen Blackberry originated in the South Sea Islands, where it grows spontaneously in the wild woods. A Frenchman brought some of them to Oregon and we got plants from him, and have raised and sold them extensively ever since all over this coast, until they have spread even to the Eastern States. We consider them equal in size and quality or flavor to the Lawton, and very much more productive, as a single plant will, when in good bearing, supply an ordinary family with fruit. We raise them from root cuttings or suckers. They do not ripen as soon as the Lawton, but when they begin to bear, continue to do so until cold weather comes on." H. W. Settlemire, Tangent, Oregon.

" We have yours of a late date and replying to same will say: We do not know the origin of the Evergreen Blackberry. Have tried to trace it but have never been able to get any reliable information. It has been here from the pioneer days, and can now be found growing wild in the woods. It is a very hardy plant with us, but does not do well in dry unirrigated soil. Requires a wet soil and moist climate to thrive. We have sent quite a few of them into the Eastern States, but do not know what success the planters have had with them.

"They are propagated from either tips or cuttings, also from suckers. There is nothing to beat them suckering. It is one of our best berries for home use, but does not stand shipping. Very prolific bearer, medium sized berry with abundance of seeds." J. H. Settlemire et Son, Woodburn, Oregon.


"I cannot give you the information you requested in regard to the origin of the Evergreen Blackberry. I can tell you about the plants, however. They are very hardy and very productive and now grow wild, or in out-of-way places in many localities. I have noticed this especially along the ocean coast. They are full of briars, hence the berries are rather hard to gather. They are good but not equal to several of our cultivated varieties. They bear all summer in enormous quantities, have large seeds with beards which are rough in the mouth. The juice is of good flavor. They are nice for manufacture of jelly."O. P. S. Plummer, Portland, Oregon.

"In answer to your note of request regarding the so-called Oregon Evergreen Blackberry, I think it is not a native of Oregon, but that it was brought from Australia to this country in the first settlement. This is all I can find regarding its origin. The quality of the berry is good but is so late that it is not raised very extensively for market. It requires plenty of water to perfect its crop. As for its propagation, it is usually from tips or suckers. On cultivated land in this country it becomes a nuisance, and will spread rapidly if any roots are cut or broken."W. J. Magoon, Portland, Oregon.

" When I came to Oregon, about twenty-five years ago, the Evergreen Blackberry appeared to be an old settler here. I am unable to give you any information of the origin. It is not much thought of here as a money-making fruit."- H. Freeborough, Montavilla, Oregon.

"In regard to the Evergreen Blackberry: I am unable to give you very much information, although I have the variety and it is a very fine blackberry. I have known it for at least thirty years." H. J. Geer, Core, Oregon.


In the early nineties Luther Burbank introduced a blackberry which he called the Himalaya Giant. His stock originated from seed sent him from "high up on the Himalaya Mountains in 1889 or 1890." In 1893 he relisted this berry "as an improved variety of Rubus sp. Himalaya" but a few years later the name was again changed to that given above. Later the plant was sent out by other nurserymen as the Himalaya berry and as Giant Himalaya. It now turns out that this blackberry is a form of Rubus procerus (see discussion of this species page 84), a well-known blackberry in Europe, and that a garden variety, almost if not identical, had been introduced in Germany in 1889 tinder the name Theodor Reimers. The Himalaya berry has now been thoroughly tested in all the fruit regions of North America and is regarded as of commercial importance only in very restricted areas on the Pacific Coast, notably about Puget Sound, Washington. Several very distinct varieties have been sold under the names given, probably through the interchange of labels, for the true Himalaya is distinct in nearly every character. The value of this blackberry, and any of its variations, if such there be, will probably be limited by several very marked faults: The plants lack hardiness in the blackberry regions east of the Rocky Mountains; under cultivation it is about the most unmanageable of all brambles; the plants are nowhere very productive, and in the East are markedly unproductive; and the berries are everywhere inferior in size, appearance, and quality. Plant and fruit are fully described in the chapter on Varieties of Blackberries.


The various species of blackberries are becoming hopelessly confused in their cultivated varieties through cultivation. Card, in his Bush-Fruits, 1898, and Bailey, in The 'Evolution of our Native Fruits, 1898, were able at the time they wrote to classify blackberries in several well-marked groups, as Long-cluster, Short-cluster, Leafy-cluster, and Loose-cluster varieties. Such grouping is no longer tenable. Descriptions of 133 varieties of blackberries grown on the grounds of this Station, fail to fall into these groups and fail in many cases to fall into species. Hybridization, especially in kinds brought out in recent years, has completely upset man-made classifications. In the chapters on the botany of the blackberry and on varieties, many known and supposed hybrids are named, so that it must suffice here to make a general statement showing the limits so far reached in the hybridization of blackberries with other fruits.

There are many hybrids recorded between blackberries and dewberries, not a few of which are described in this text. Mahdi, a garden bramble, is a hybrid between the European blackberry and the European red raspberry. Mammoth is said to be a hybrid between the blackberry and the western dewberry. Laxtonberry is recorded as a hybrid between the loganberry and the Superlative red raspberry. The Van Fleet raspberry is a hybrid between a Chinese bramble and the Cuthbert raspberry. The sorts so far named are hybrids under cultivation which have more or less commercial value. Untold numbers of similar hybrids have fallen by the wayside in attempts to breed new brambles. A statement of what has been done at this Station in crossing brambles in the last fifteen years shows some of the possibilities of hybridizing bramble fruits.

In the work of breeding new brambles at the New York Agricultural Experiment Station, eighteen species have been intercrossed. Willingness to interbreed may be put down as a characteristic of Rubus. Few, indeed, of the species of Rubus have refused to interbreed with another species or with several other species. The violence of the cross is often remarkable. The red raspberry is easily hybridized with the blackberry or with the large-flowered and very distinct Rubus odoratus. Many new sorts have arisen in the last few years, and the work of interbreeding brambles is certain to prove productive of great numbers of new types, some of which will be barren, and at best most will be but curiosities, but now and then a new type of value is almost certain to be bred.


Considering the many merits of dewberries, as compared with other bramble fruits, they have found a place in popular favor exceedingly slowly. As compared with the fruits of blackberries, those of dewberries are usually larger, sprightlier, juicier and, all in all, handsomer and more delectable. The crop of most sorts ripens earlier, and over a longer season than that of blackberries, and the plants are usually more productive. While dewberries may not be hardier than blackberries, the plants are more easily protected so that there should be less winter killing. Yet despite these advantages, no one undertook the domestication of dewberries until long after the blackberry was established in the fruit plantations of the country, the reason being, without doubt, that a dewberry plant seems hopelessly unmanageable, although when the knack of training is learned it is as easily managed as a blackberry.

Dewberries are mentioned many times as promising subjects for domestication by pomological writers early in the nineteenth century, but no one seems to have undertaken the task until the early sixties. A Dr. Miner, Honeoye Falls, Monroe County, New York, seems to have established the first landmark in dewberry domestication. Dr. Miner planted seeds of a wild dewberry about 1854. From a great number of plants he saved two which he propagated and distributed. This first breeder of dewberries seems to have been too modest to tell his own story, but it is admirably told by Joseph Harris,8 one of the good agricultural writers of his time, in the Genesee Farmer for 1862. It is seldom that the first steps in domesticating a plant are so well told, and Harris' article, containing an account of the method of breeding, the result, a description of the two new varieties, the method of culture, and an estimate of the new fruit, is republished in full.

" It is with much pleasure that we are enabled to lay before our readers some facts in reference to a fruit which promises to be of high value, both to the amateur cultivator and the market fruit-grower. For sometime we have been aware that Dr. Miner, of Honeoye Falls, in this county, was the originator of a seedling Dewberry, but as the Dr. has been desirous to fully prove the success of his undertaking before allowing it to be much known, our attention has been but little attracted to it until the present season.

"A present of two baskets of this fruit two distinct varieties and an invitation to come and see for ourselves, and we must not omit the fragrance of those two baskets of fruit nor the pleasure we enjoyed in eating them with our friends, awakened a latent curiosity to see, to feel and to handle the fruit on the plants to learn of their mode of growth, their cultivation and their history.

"Without detaining our readers with the details of our pleasant visit, we will mention what we saw and learned of the new fruits, for as we have intimated the Dr. has succeeded in raising two seedlings of superior merit. These seedlings were originated six or eight years ago, from seed of the common wild Dewberry, or low Blackberry. Among a great number of plants which were produced and kept in cultivation until they showed their fruit, two only showed signs of merit, which were very decided; all the other plants were discarded, and these two were cultivated with care for several years to see if their apparent characters were real and permanent. Fortunately the desires of the experimenter have been fully realized, and several years of continuous fruiting has firmly established their value.

"As all our readers may not be acquainted with the habits of this plant, we will briefly state its distinguishing traits.

u The slender stems, about a quarter of an inch in diameter, trail along the ground extending from the root to a distance of ten or fifteen feet a vigorous plant produces a score or more of these stems each season.
"The stems are furnished with a very few small thorns, and trifoliate leaves; the leaflets are about an inch and a half long and half as wide, of a light green color; leaf stem from one to two inches in length and a little prickly.

" The fruit is borne on slender stems two or three inches in length, is shining, jet black, fragrant, sweet and juicy. Most of the fruit in a wild state is imperfect, developing a drupe only here and there over its surface; cultivation of the wild plants does not in the least improve this habit, according to Dr. M. The seedlings to which we now direct attention have not this fault of the wild type, but are fully developed in every case their size is very large, nearly or quite equalling the best specimens of the New Rochelle blackberry. In quality and flavor they are far superior to any blackberry known, and are very prolific and hardy.

" The plants propagate themselves by striking root at the ends of the shoots, and never throw up any suckers.

11 The plat of ground which Dr. M. has devoted to these fruits, is about one-eighth of an acre. The plants are set out about five feet apart in squares ; early in the spring a pole or stake is driven down by the side of each plant, standing five or six feet high, around which the fine, long, flexible shoots of the previous year's growth are wound, and fastened by a string, tying them at the top, thus forming a kind of cylinder or cone. By this mode of training, the fruits hang outside, clear of the foliage all around, affording the greatest facility for gathering. The new growth is allowed to trail on the ground until the succeeding spring.

"The plants do not occupy much space, and three feet each way would be ample room to allow them.

"We judged that the plants produced about two quarts of berries each.

"The two varieties are distinct from each other in fruit and foliage and period of ripening. The early variety is more fragrant and sweeter than the later one, and at the date we saw them (Aug. 5th) was nearly gone, while the other was just in perfection. It will be seen, therefore, that both varieties mature earlier than either the Dorchester or New Rochelle blackberries, which are now (August 20th) at the height of their season.

"As the originator of these fruits has already parted with some of the plants to different individuals, they will probably be spread through the country from several sources, and as no names have been used to distinguish the varieties, it is possible that some confusion may arise in reference to this matter, and we will notice that the edges of the leaves of the early kind are dentate or doubly dentate, while those of the later variety are sharply serrate.

"We think it desirable that the term Dewberry should be used to designate these plants, instead of Blackberry, as their mode of growth is so entirely different from the high Blackberry.
"In conclusion, we will state that it is our conviction that these fruits will meet with a cordial reception by the public, and for private gardens be preferred to the rank-growing high blackberries; in the market they will readily command a higher price than any other blackberry, but as their season is so much earlier they will not come greatly into competition. For a table fruit they are very fair sweet, juicy and luscious no setting of the teeth on edge."

Little, however, seems to have come from Dr. Miner's dewberries. They were discussed in the Fruit Growers' Society of Western New York; mentioned in several of the agricultural papers of the country and even received some praise in the Gardeners9 Chronicle published in England. But Dr. Miner did not push the sale of plants and eventually they seem to have been lost sight of although more or less cultivated for twenty or thirty years under the name Miner's Seedlings.

The first dewberry to receive wide recognition seems to have been the Bartel, brought to notice by Dr. Bartel, Huey, Clinton County, Illinois. L. H. Bailey,10 who has given the early history of dewberries much attention, gives the following history of the Bartel in a bulletin of the Cornell Experiment Station.

"The story goes that the plants appeared in an old cornfield upon his farm, and some of the berries were so large that he conceived the idea of selling plants. He procured a lithograph of the berries - which did ample justice to the fruit,described the methods of growing them and for a time disposed of considerable stock. The introducer was an old man at this time and was one of those clever and picturesque individuals who often lend an interest to a neighborhood. The first printed record of this berry appeared in December, 1875, in Purdy's Fruit Recorder (p. 182). This is a communication from ' T. C. Bartles, of Clinton Co., Illinois,' and is headed "Bartles' Mammoth Dewberry.'11 The description of the berry runs as follows: ' This is a very fine berry, ripening from the last of June until the middle of August. The fruit is very large, rich and juicy, slightly acid, but not so sour as the blackberry. When ripe it is black, and is sufficiently solid to bear shipment with safety. I have had berries over two inches in length and one inch in diameter. They are a perpetual bearer, from the time they begin to ripen (in ordinary seasons) until the last of August having blossoms on the same vine simultaneously with the ripe fruit. They are very prolific, yielding in a fair season from sixty to eighty bushels to an acre. They do not blossom until late in the spring later than the strawberry the fruit maturing in from four to six weeks after blossoming hence they are seldom if ever injured by late frosts in the spring. They are very hardy having succeeded as far north as Wisconsin and the northern part of Iowa/ An account of methods of cultivation is then given. ' I shipped some of my dewberries to New York city from this place for which I received sixteen dollars per bushel. I also shipped to Rockford, Ill., St. Louis, Mo., and to Independence, Iowa, for which I received twelve dollars and eighty cents per bushel; while the highest price paid for straw-berries did not exceed, on an average, six dollars and forty cents per bushel. I consider the dewberry the most profitable fruit raised.' Mr. Purdy gave roots of this dewberry as a premium to his paper at this time, and among those who obtained it were I. N. Stone, of Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin, and Hon. B. F. Adams, of Madison, Wisconsin, the only persons, probably, as Mr. Stone writes me, ' who had sufficient confidence in it to give it a fair trial/ Mr. Stone has made a marked success of its culture, and all the plants set in recent years appear to have come directly or indirectly from him."

The Bartel, while probably the first dewberry to receive a name, was not the first one to be grown commonly and largely by fruit growers.. That honor belongs to Lucretia, long the standard commercial sort and still a favorite. We must again go to Bailey12 for the first full historical account of this berry. He says:

"The story of its discovery and introduction is told me by B. F. Albaugh, of Covington, Miami Co., Ohio, who introduced it to the trade. A young man named Williams enlisted in the civil war from Miami Co., Ohio. During most of his service he was stationed in West Virginia, part of the time near Beverly. While guarding private property there he became acquainted with the woman who afterwards became his wife. He settled on her plantation after the war, and upon it found the dewberries growing wild. He transplanted some to his garden, and these attracted the attention of his father who visited him in 1875. The following year plants were sent to the father in Ohio and they were distributed among a few friends. The plants were carelessly dug, however, and only five of the genuine variety happened to be in the lot and these, along with many worthless ones, chanced to fall into the hands of Mr. Albaugh. From these five plants the present stock has sprung. When the variety was offered for sale Mr. Albaugh named it Lucretia, for Mrs. Lucretia Garfield. Mr. Albaugh tells me that the five original plants are still vigorous and fruitful. A portion of one of the original plants about one-ninth of it was exhibited at the Association of American Nurserymen at Washington in June, 1886. This specimen bore 978 berries. E. Y. Teas, now of Irvington, Indiana, appears to have been the first to figure and offer for sale the Lucretia."

From time to time other dewberries appeared of greater or less value, but the dewberry remained until the beginning of the present century a suspicious inhabitant of the fruit plantation. Its vicious thorns and unmanageable canes condemned it, and, as with all new fruits, the presumption was against an unfamiliar plant in cultivated grounds, especially when its near of kin have been troublesome intruders from fence rows and forests. And so, although several interesting forms of the common or northern dewberry appeared before 1900, it was not until this date or after that dewberry culture began to take form as one of the small fruit industries of the country. Several quite distinct types now came under cultivation, some of which must be mentioned, but the reader must turn to Chapter II on the botany of this fruit for a full list of the species of dewberries now under cultivation.

The dewberries so far discussed belong to the northern states, or more accurately the northeastern states and may be roughly lumped into the northern dewberries. About 25 varieties belong here. Perhaps as many more sorts, mostly of comparatively recent introduction, belong to the southern dewberries, and nearly as many more to the western dewberries. The botany of the three groups is little understood. Several species are involved, accounts of which have been given in previous pages. It must suffice here to give a brief sketch of the introduction of a few of the earliest and most prominent varieties from these widely separated parts of North America.


The southern dewberries are for the most part evergreen or nearly so and rather more prostrate than the northern varieties. Bailey names the following dewberries as coming from southern species:13 Bauer, Drishill, Eight Ells, Extra, Houston, Howard, Lime Kiln, Long Branch, Lost Ball, McDonald, Manatee, Muchee Grandee, Race Track, Rockledge, Rogers, White (from Louisiana) and Wilson's (from Texas). Of these seventeen southern sorts, only Manatee, McDonald, and Rogers have been tried on the grounds of this Station. No one of the three have been sufficiently hardy, vigorous, or productive to merit recommendation for any purpose in the North. As will be seen from the histories in the chapter on varieties, of all of which an account can be found, most of these southern sorts have been brought in from the wild or are chance seedlings, and none have achieved pomological prominence. It is doubtful if more than three or four of the above list could now be obtained so short have been their popularity. Nevertheless some are promising and as their breeding progresses, southern dewberries may be expected to play an important part in the pomology of the South.


Two types of dewberries have come from the Pacific slope. One type is best represented by the loganberry and the other by Mammoth. The introduction of the loganberry is a landmark in the history of small fruits. Its discovery, introduction, rise to a popular and standard product, and adaptation to several commercial uses, are about the most engaging events in modern pomology. An enigmatical origin adds interest to this remarkable fruit. Its value to pomology is much greater than the intrinsic worth of the variety, for it has inspired breeders of small fruits to produce something similar or better to the end that a dozen or more valuable small fruits have appeared as emulations of the loganberry and one sees in the future a great array of loganberry-like varieties.

What is the loganberry? It originated in California, as we shall see, from the seed of what the Californians call the wild blackberry. Called after its originator, it became the Logan blackberry, a name favored by workers in the United States Department of Agriculture and in many experiment stations. But the parent plant was a dewberry as pomologists and botanists usually use the word, and "blackberry" is a confusing misnomer For some years after its introduction, the loganberry was supposed to be a hybrid between the red raspberry and the dewberry of California, and the name "blaspberry," a word made by substituting the first two letters of "blackberry" for the first letter of "raspberry" was proposed. This name, an unfortunate suggestion, met with small favor and is now seldom heard. Meanwhile, by common consent, "loganberry" as a group rather than a varietal name, has come into general use. So much for the name, now greater detail as to the origin of the loganberry must be given.

Fortunately there are several accounts of the origin of the loganberry from its originator, Judge J. H. Logan, Santa Cruz, California.

The best of these seems to be contained in a letter written to L. H. Bailey14 in 1902. The letter reads:
"In August, 1881, I planted the seed of the common wild blackberry or dewberry, of California, botanically known as the Rubus ursinus, gathered from plants on one side of which was growing a kind of evergreen blackberry known as the Texas Early, and on the other side of which was growing an old variety of red raspberry. The Texas Early has a growth of cane and leaves similar to the Lawton, although much less vigorous, and in our mild climate is growing winter and summer. It has a small round berry of more acidity than the Lawton and probably of poorer flavor. The raspberry referred to has been growing in this place for the last forty years and I am.unable to ascertain what variety it is, although it is of a type similar to the Red Antwerp. It is not, however, the Red Antwerp as we have been growing it here. From this seed there grew about one hundred plants which were cared for and planted out in the ground. In the summer of 1883 these plants fruited and there appeared one plant which was undoubtedly a cross between the raspberry and the Rubus ursinus. The fruit was larger and earlier than the raspberry or any blackberry, except the R. ursinus, ripening about the middle of May; the appearance of the berry on the surface was something like the raspberry, being less indented and of more even surface than a blackberry; the color a bright glowing red, becoming very dark and finally, when dead ripe, of a dull purplish-red color. The berry has a core like the blackberry and parts from the calyx the same as a blackberry. The leaves of the vine are almost identical with the wild Rubus, being somewhat larger. The canes are also like the wild Rubus only larger and more vigorous. It has the same small sharp spines, and like it, is without adventitious root buds, but multiplies from the stolons or tips and from seed. The fruit, when cooked, has the same rich acidity as the wild Rubus, there being only a suggestion of the taste of the raspberry in the cooked fruit, but in the jelly there is a more decided raspberry flavor. This red berry is universally known here as the Loganberry."

In Judge Logan's letter he says the original loganberry plant "was undoubtedly a cross between the raspberry and Rubus ursinus." For some years after the introduction of the new fruit, botanists and pomologists accepted this theory of hybridity. Later, the concensus of opinion of workers in pomology and botany was that the loganberry is but a variety of the western dewberry. Bailey, however, who has long been a student of the wild and cultivated bramble fruits, says in the reference given " I am strongly inclined to the opinion that the loganberry is a hybrid, as supposed in the beginning." Then follow several reasons for his belief. Berger, a botanist at this Station, who has done the botanical work for this text, after a painstaking study of herbarium specimens of this and related varieties and species, believes loganberry to be a red sport from the black dewberry, Rubus ursinus.

The loganberry has been used at this Station in hybridization but the results, as yet, contribute little to show whether this fruit is a hybrid or a pure-bred dewberry. The only phenomenon noted on these grounds is, possibly, collateral evidence toward the theory of hybridity. The red raspberry has been hybridized with several species of Rubus. In most of these hybrids the raspberry seems completely submerged. Hybrids between it and the loganberry, Mahdi, the wineberry, and the large-leaved flowering raspberry of the East, show almost no trace of the red raspberry in the first generation; subsequent generations prove hybridity. One might reasonably suspect, therefore, that the loganberry may be a red raspberry hybrid even though the raspberry shows but little in plant or fruit of the loganberry. Nevertheless, with the evidence from all sources at hand, it seems most probable that the loganberry is a red-fruited sport from the western dewberry.

The loganberry is now commonly found in home and market gardens of all the Pacific States, whence large shipments are made of fresh fruit to the East. The berries are evaporated and make a valuable dried fruit; large quantities are canned; it is a splendid fruit for jams and preserves; and a large part of the crop is now used for a non-alcoholic drink. Propagation, culture, pruning, training, and harvesting are not more difficult than with other bramble fruits and the yields are high.

Western dewberries are represented by a score or more noteworthy varieties other than the loganberry, of which some of the most promising are related to this most important variety. Of the loganberry-like sorts, Laxton, Mahdi, Mammoth, Phenomenal, and Primus are best known. Aughinbaugh, Belle of Washington, Skagit Chief, Washington Climbing, Cory Thornless, and Gardena, are other derivatives from western species of dewberries.


Figures showing the magnitude of an industry are always interesting, and in studies of marketing and of fruit regions are often valuable. Table 2 from the Fourteenth Census, taken in 1919, shows the magnitude of the blackberry and dewberry industry in the United States at the date of the census. For some reason, those in charge of the census combined the loganberry with raspberries rather than dewberries, allowance for which must be made in interpreting the figures in the table that follows.

Table 2. Acreage, Yield and Value of Blackberries and Dewberries in the United States

in 1919, by Divisions and States

Division and State

AcreageYield (in quarts)Value


































6. 7,0971,065








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......


Middle Atlantic-New York.........

New Jersey........


East North Central:


Indiana. et..........




West North Central:




North Dakota......

South Dakota......



South Atlantic;



District of Columbia


West Virginia......

North Carolina.....

South Carolina.....





Division and State


Yield (in quarts)


East South Central:





West South Central:









Colorado. ......

New Mexico....







California. . . .....



























2,627 19,122






664,392 299,476 509,816

^Reported in small fractions.

[References 1. Kenrick, William Am. Orch. 336, 1832.
2. ibid. 337.
3. New Eng. Farmer 7:351. 1829.
4. On the Cultivation of the High-bush Blackberry; with a Notice of the best Wash for Fruit Trees. By Capt. Josiah Lovett. Beverly, Mass." Mag. Hort. 16:261. 1850.
5. Gen. Farmer 15:157. 1854.
6. Agric. Sci. 6:66. 1892.
7. UtakSta. Bid. 64:51-54. 1899.
8. Gen. Farmer 23:351. 1862.
10. Cornell Sta. Bu1. 34:300. 1891.
11. The name of this dewberry is variously written Bartle, Bartles', Bartell and Bartells', but I have the -evidence of a neighbor of the introducer, who is now dead, that he spelled his name Bartel. Perhaps the orthography of the name may have been confused because of another family in Clinton County which spells its name Bartels.
12. Cornell Sta. Bu1. 34:287. 1891.
13. Bailey, L. H. Gent. Herb. 170. 1923.
14. Gent. Herb. 155. 1923.