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There are at least 122 species of blackberries in the United States alone -- one authority claims 200 for North America. All are of the genus rubus, which also includes Boysenberries, dewberries, Loganberries, raspberries, tayberries, thimbleberries, wineberries, and Youngberries, and are related to the rose (genus rosa). They are found in every state of the United states, every province of Canada, and in most of Mexico.

The blackberry is a caning shrub, often growing into thickets or brambles, usually armed with thorns, spines or stiff hairs, with 3-7 leaved leaflets but most often 5. It will grow almost anywhere, but particularly does well at wooded borders, along fences, in fallow clearings, and along roadsides, rivers and railroads. The berries form from white, showy, 5-petal flowers that grow in clusters in the early to late spring. The berries are actually rounded or thimble-shaped clusters sharing a common attachment to the stem. These in turn also grow in clusters that turn from light green to rose, then red, then deep purple to black, ripening in mid- to late summer. When ripe, the berries are very popular among birds and other wildlife.

I believe that blackberry wine is best when made vintage -- from fresh blackberries, without blending with other fruit or wines -- but a few blackberry blends are worth making and drinking and I have included them among the ten blackberry wine recipes on the next page.

Some of the more popular blackberry varieties and hybrids are:

Sources of Information on Blackberry Cultivation

A number of schools (University of Arkansas, Texas A&M University, etc.) offer excellent reference material on blackberry cultivation. But by far the most consistently reliable source of information tailored to your climate and soils is your County Agricultural Extension Agent. You can find him (or her) listed in the county government section of your local phone book.

You can also order one of the following from Amazon.com:

The Complete Guide to Growing Berries and Grapes
Louise Riotte / Published 1993
Gardening in the Inland Northwest : A Guide to Growing Vegetables, Berries, Grapes, and Fruit Trees
Tonie Jean Fitzgerald / Published 1984
Growing Berries and Grapes at Home
J. Harold Clarke / Published 1976
Successful Berry Growing; How to Plant, Prune, Pick, and Preserve Bush and Vine Fruits.
Gene. Logsdon / Published 1974
Alaska Wild Berry Guide and Cookbook
Alaska Geographic Editors / Paperback / Published 1983

Blackberry Wine Recipes

This page was updated April 14th, 2003.

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