The WALA Plant Library
Raspberry

Synonyms for Raspberry: Red Raspberry, Common Red Raspberry, Raspis, Hindberry, Bramble of Mount Ida
Scientific Name: Rubus idaeus L.
Family: Rosaceae (Rose Family)

Description:

Raspberries taste best freshly picked. When properly ripe they are easily pulled from the receptacle, which remains behind on the bush as a white cone. The soft, velvety fruits are sweet and juicy and dissolve on the tongue, leaving only the hard little pips to be cracked open and crunched. Incidentally, botanically the raspberry is not a berry at all, but a ‘drupelet’: a compound fruit made up of little drupes – stone fruits each containing only one seed enclosed in a hard shell. Berries, in contrast, usually enclose more than one seed (like the gooseberry). On closer observation small, yellowish threads can sometimes be seen on the individual raspberry drupes. These are remains of the stigma, part of the female organ of the plant.
In the garden, the erect, slightly prickly, stems of the raspberry bush – known as canes – grow to a height of one to two metres. They are usually planted in rows and trained along wires. The leaves are arranged like hands and are white and feltlike on the underside. In the second year the canes bear white to pink flowers grouped in loose clusters which reveal their connection to the rose family. Towards winter, the biennial canes that have borne fruit die back to root level. They remain standing as dry twigs. In spring new canes sprout from the rootstock, which forms branching subterranean suckers. Raspberries thrive best where it is sunny to semi-shady: in the wild they grow on the edges of woods, in sunny glades, on banks and in clearings.