(Rubus idaeus and other Rubus sp. – Family Rosaceae)
Framboise (French), Himbeere (German), lampone (Italian), frambuesa (Spanish), martzuka gorri (Basque), framboesa (Portuguese), framboos (Dutch), hindbær (Danish), bringebær (Norweigian), hallon (Swedish), vattu/vadelma (Finnish), malina (Russian/Polish), malinnik (Czech), malina (Serbo-Croat), zmeura (Romanian), malina (Bulgarian), sméouro (Greek), ahududu (Turkish), petel (Hebrew), farambwaz (Arabic), buah frambus (Indonesian), mu mei/shan mei (Chinese), kiichigo (R.parvifolius)(Japanese)
The raspberry is but one fruit belonging to the genus Rubus. Others in the same genus include the blackberry, cloudberry, dewberry, and salmonberry.
The raspberry can be any colour from white through to yellow, orange, pink, red, purple to black. The difference is in the structure.
When a blackberry is picked, the receptacle remains inside the fruit; but, when a raspberry is picked, its receptacle remains on the bush.
Raspberries are a valuable source of Vitamin C, potassium, niacin, riboflavin, and dietary fiber. Their juice is said to be good for the heart, and the leaves have long been used for their beneficial effects during childbirth and to prevent miscarriages.
The Greeks were the first people known to have cultivated raspberries. They called the fruits “idaeus” because they grew thickly on the slopes of Mount Ida, and still do.
There are two mountains with this name, one in Crete and the other in Asia Minor. Both are overgrown with raspberries. Therefore, the botanical name (idaeus) is the chief species of both the wild and the cultivated raspberry.
The English name comes from an Old English term “raspis”, which refers to the slightly hairy or “rasping” surface of the fruit compared with the smooth shiny surface of the blackberry.
The common European wild raspberry has a distribution extending from Asia to north of the Arctic Circle. The wild raspberry in America is not native, but escapees from cultivation.
The flavour of the wild berries is so outstanding that cuttings from the roots are often taken and transferred to gardens. One of the most common, native to Burma and India, is grown in Africa, as well asin Florida.
When ripe, the small black fruits are covered with white blooms. In the eastern US and Canada, R. occidentalis the black raspberry, is common. It is more acidic and, therefore, is particularly good for cooking.
The paler, often orange, salmonberry or cloudberry, R. spectabilis, is not named for its colour, but because Native Americans of the North-West often ate it with salmon roe.
The best known hybrid of the raspberry and blackberry cross is the loganberry. Others include the tayberry and tummelberry, each named for a river in Scotland.
Other successful hybrids have produced the boysenberry and youngberry both named after their “inventors”. Another unusual cross between the youngberry and the loganberry is the ollalie. (See these berries under Dewberry).
Blackcap, black raspberry, wild loganberry (R. leucodermis) is another raspberry-like fruit that is similar but shorter, finer, and purplish black. It is seedy, but usually has a sweet juicy flavour. The berries grow on shrubs with arching branches that have numerous thorns along the stems.
Thimbleberry is another of the Rubus species. The berries turn from green to whitish to pink to bright red as they ripen. They have a shallow cup-shape and, when ripe, fall easily from the stems. Their flavour is generally sweet and tasty, but this depends on locality and weather conditions. They are difficult to gather as they are so juicy that getting them back for preservation is difficult in large quantities.