Author Topic: Bramble(Rubus) Species / Hybrids  (Read 127 times)

Garrett Schantz

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Bramble(Rubus) Species / Hybrids
« on: 2021-04-01, 11:04:00 AM »
Figured I would make a general Rubus thread. The other Rubus thread is mainly about breeding Anaplobatus species together / Rocky Mountain breeding.

Basically just go out and find areas where any Rubus species overlap, look for things that seem off-type. Take berries - stratify seeds - attempt cuttings etc. I would probably send seeds out if you can't test cuttings for diseases.

This is more of a discussion - reports rather than straight out breeding.

Hybrids between different Rubus groups are common. Sometimes the offspring is sterile, sometimes it isn't.

The main purpose of this thread is to have people find odd variations in certain species - or hybrids. Afterwards they can post the images here - even if the growth types aren't of interest to you they may be of interest to others.

Whatever breeding projects come out of these findings can then become a new thread.

Hoping to spur some interest in Rubus species / breeding.

Newer cultivars for mass cultivation / improved hybrid types can have patents. So I would double check on some of those before attempting to use them for breeding purposes.
« Last Edit: 2021-04-01, 11:32:45 AM by Garrett Schantz »

Garrett Schantz

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Re: Bramble(Rubus) Species / Hybrids
« Reply #1 on: 2021-04-01, 11:14:49 AM »
Posting some weird types that I found outside - moved them into a more isolated spot - they will still be pollinated by other brambles, but they will mostly share pollen with each other.

Posting a wild form of Rubus occidentalis that grows naturally around here if anyone is wondering. The domesticated types usually have all green or all blue stems. The ones around here are a subspecies I believe.

There is also a large green bramble growing around here. Unsure of what it is - too large for me to ever get close to the group. I also don't want pricked everywhere. Suppose I might go and check once flowers and things form on them.

First image is of a plant that I dug up two days ago. Second image is after I cut it down quite a bit a day later.

It has small thorns(?) - harder to see than larger thorns, the smaller thorns are almost everywhere on the canes. Larger thorned plants around here usually have the thorns here and there. Easier to avoid.

Normally Rubus occidentalis doesn't form huge bunches like this. The canes are also larger than normal types.

Garrett Schantz

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Re: Bramble(Rubus) Species / Hybrids
« Reply #2 on: 2021-04-01, 11:30:28 AM »
First image on this reply is Rubus occidentalis again.

Single huge cane. Growing upright like the other odd type that I posted previously. Very tall.

I trimmed the cane a bit.

Second image is the same plant - closer view. As you can see the thorns aren't everywhere like the other plant was. Easier to avoid the thorns.


Final image is the normal Rubus occidentalis that grows everywhere. Sort of a small vine-like crawling thing.


Normally I wouldn't prune in the spring. But I am trying to get fresh growth on most of these. The large bunching type had a bunch of older / dead growth as well - looked like it had poor air flow between the canes as well.

Bit of black spots near the new growth as well. We had a frost when these started going out of dormancy. So probably frost damage rather than a disease.
« Last Edit: 2021-04-01, 11:34:05 AM by Garrett Schantz »

Woody Gardener

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Re: Bramble(Rubus) Species / Hybrids
« Reply #3 on: 2021-04-01, 07:42:41 PM »
Thanks for the thought of looking for volunteer Rubus hybrids.
In my garden I have 6 thornless blackberries, a red raspberry, a black raspberry, and Youngberries. Around the garden are thorny wild blackberries and almost thornless dewberries. I'll keep an eye out for hybrids this spring and summer.
I'm not interested in preserving heirlooms.
The best seed bank is the living seed bank which is growing every year in people's gardens.
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Garrett Schantz

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Re: Bramble(Rubus) Species / Hybrids
« Reply #4 on: 2021-04-01, 10:59:20 PM »
I ordered three bareroot R. leucodermis from Nativefoodsnursery along with a Thimbleberry (R. Parviflorus) plant.

Ordered a Boysenberry plant as well.

R. leucodermis is closely related to R. occidentalis. If they both flower, they will hybridize. From what I have read, they both reproduce sexually.

Boysenberry has a bunch of different Rubus species in it's lineage: R. idaeus - R. fruticosus - R. aboriginum - R. ursinus x R. idaeus

Some links talking about or mentioning Rubus hybrids:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3477884/
R. ursinus apparently hybridizes easily with a bunch of different species.

http://nativeplantspnw.com/thimbleberry-rubus-parviflorus/
Mentions thimbleberry hybrids.

https://species.nbnatlas.org/species/NBNSYS0000003321
Thimbleberry may hybridize with purpleflowering raspberry (R. odoratus), evergreen blackberry (R. laciniatus), and red raspberry (R. idaeus) where distributions overlap. Hybrids are frequently sterile

Hoping that Thimbleberry and Boysenberry will be able to hybridize. Thimbleberry has been reported to hybridize with some of the species that were used to create Boysenberry.


I could try buying some R.ursinus in the future to see if it will cross with R. leucodermis / R. occidentalis. Boysenberry already has some R.ursinus, so that might work out.

I will be growing these in the same area - but not really too close to each other. Rather not have them share soil borne diseases with each other.

Potential hybrids will be moved away so that they don't introduce a disease from one of their parents.

I am buying canes / plants. So I probably won't see much in terms of fruit until next year. Probably won't see potential hybrids until two years from now.

Garrett Schantz

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Re: Bramble(Rubus) Species / Hybrids
« Reply #5 on: 2021-04-07, 10:09:21 PM »
Three Boysenberry plants arrived today. Planted the smallest one in a shaded / wooded area - somewhat close to other brambles.

The others are in a spot for perennial flowers / edibles.

The R. leucodermis and R. parviflorus plants are on their way.

Oh yeah they have Fragaria chiloensis as well - I ordered a plant. Unsure if I will plant it's runners near the brambles.

Will probably be at least a year before any of these put on any amount of production.
« Last Edit: 2021-04-07, 10:13:21 PM by Garrett Schantz »

Diane Whitehead

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Re: Bramble(Rubus) Species / Hybrids
« Reply #6 on: 2021-04-08, 08:57:06 AM »
I had Fragaria chiloensis for years - handsome plant, lovely flowers, but just the one sex so I never had a berry.  Does your source specify which sex you will receive?
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
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Garrett Schantz

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Re: Bramble(Rubus) Species / Hybrids
« Reply #7 on: 2021-04-08, 09:32:21 AM »
I had Fragaria chiloensis for years - handsome plant, lovely flowers, but just the one sex so I never had a berry.  Does your source specify which sex you will receive?

It didn't specify, I am growing other Fragaria species which might work well enough. Chiloensis is compatible with virginiana, moschata, vesca, viridis. Also some feral domestic domestics are growing near the brambles.

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Re: Bramble(Rubus) Species / Hybrids
« Reply #8 on: 2021-04-08, 05:20:52 PM »
Thanks for the thought of looking for volunteer Rubus hybrids.
In my garden I have 6 thornless blackberries, a red raspberry, a black raspberry, and Youngberries. Around the garden are thorny wild blackberries and almost thornless dewberries. I'll keep an eye out for hybrids this spring and summer.
I've seen to examples of what I believe to be tame thornless blackberries crossed to wild ones. One is a patch that is still growing along the back wall of my in-law's barn. It has large delicious berries and awful thorns, even worse than the wild. The plants themselves are also much larger and more upright but you can get into them to pick some.

The other came up inside the wild patch that grows along the edge of my yard and not far from the tame ones in the garden. This thing was the Godzilla of blackberries. Giant incredibly flavored fruits, giant vines and millions of giant thorns. I could only harvest by pulling the 10 foot canes over with a hoe or rake and picking just those on the tip. Attempts to harvest the bulk of the fruits would easily cost the same weight in blood. Gloves were no help, the thorns just grabbed and pulled them off. It was also extremely vigorous and invasive and was rapidly crowding the wild patch out and trying to invade the yard. It was a hell of a fight but with clippers, an ax, a chain saw and some burning, I finally got rid of it.