Raspberry - Encyclopedia

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RASPBERRY, known botanically as Rubus Idaeus (nat. ord. Rosaceae, q.v.), a fruit-bush found wild in Great Britain and in woods throughout Europe, North Africa and in north and west Asia. The raspberry was known to classic writers, and is mentioned by Pliny as one of the wild brambles known to the Greeks as Idea, from Mt. Ida in Asia Minor on which it grew. Parkinson (Paradisus, 1629) speaks of red, white and thornless varieties as suitable for the English climate, and Gerarde (Herbal, 1597) figures and describes the Raspis or Framboise bush as one of the four kinds of bramble. It is propagated from suckers, which may be taken off the parent stools in October, and planted in rows 5 or 6 ft. apart, and at 3 ft. asunder in the rows. It is the habit of the plant to throw up from the root every year a number of shoots or canes, which bear fruit in the subsequent year, and then decay. In dressing the plants, which is done immediately after the crop is gathered, all these exhausted stems are cut away, and of the young canes only three or four of the strongest are left, which are shortened about a third. The stems, being too weak to stand by themselves, are sometimes connected together by the points in the form of arches, or a stake is driven in midway between the plants, and half the canes are bent one way and half the other, both being tied to the stake. Sometimes they are tied upright to stakes fixed to each stool. The best support, however, is obtained by fastening the points of the shoots to a slight horizontal rail or bar, placed a foot and a half on the south side of the rows, by which means the bearing shoots are deflected from the perpendicular to the sunny side of the row, and are not shaded by the annual wood. When this mode of training is adopted, the plan of planting 1 foot apart in the row and leaving one or two canes only to each shoot is preferable. The ground between the rows should never be disturbed by deep digging; but an abundant supply of good manure should be given annually in autumn as a dressing, which should be forked in regularly to a depth of 4 or 5 inches. All surplus suckers should be got away early in the summer before they have robbed the roots - five or six, to be reduced to the four best, being reserved to each root. Fresh plantations of raspberries should be made every six or seven years. The double-bearing varieties, which continue to fruit during autumn, require light soils and warm situations. These should be cut close down in February, as it is the strong young shoots of the current year which bear the late autumnal crops. The other varieties may be made to bear in autumn by cutting the stems half-way down at an early period in spring; but, as with all other fruits, the flavour of the raspberry is best when it is allowed to ripen at its natural season.

The following are some of the finer sorts now in cultivation :- Baumforth's Seedling - a large summer-bearing red. Carter's Prolific - a large summer-bearing red. Fastolf or Filby - a large summer-bearing red. M`Laren's Prolific - a large double-bearing red. Northumberland Fillbasket - a large summer red. October Red - a fine autumn-bearing red. October Yellow - a fine autumn-bearing yellow. Prince of Wales - a large summer-bearing red. Red Antwerp - a large summer-bearing red. Rogers's Victoria - a large autumn-bearing red. Round Antwerp - a large summer-bearing red.

Semler Fideli

an excellent bright red variety; heavy cropper. Superlative - fruits rich red; perhaps the best raspberry in cultivation.

Sweet Yellow Antwer

a large summer-bearing yellow.

The European raspberry, though admittedly of better quality, has been largely displaced in the United States of America by a closely allied native species, R. strigosus, the numerous varieties of which are hardier than the varieties of the European species and ripen their crop much more rapidly. The stems are more slender and flexible than in R. Idaeus, usually brown or reddishbrown in colour and beset with stiff straight prickles. The most important raspberry of cultivation in America is R. occidentalis, the black raspberry or thimbleberry, which is at once distinguished by its firm black, rarely yellow, fruit. The purplecane raspberry, R. neglectus, with fruit varying in colour from dull purple to dark red or sometimes yellowish, is perhaps a hybrid between R. strigosus and R. occidentalis. For a detailed account of the American species of Rubus see F. W. Card, Bush fruits (1898).

The Loganberry is a hybrid between the raspberry (Rubus Idaeus) and the blackberry or bramble (R. fruticosus), and derives its name from its raiser, Judge Logan of the American Bar. It is a strong-growing plant, partaking more of the habit of the blackberry than the raspberry, and making shoots often 1 0 to 15 ft. long in the course of the year. These bear leaves with 5 leaflets, and fruit the following year. The fruiting shoots have leaves with only 3 leaflets; but young and old stems are densely covered with sharp crimson prickles. The fruits are borne profusely in loose trusses, and are ripe in southern localities in July, and about early August in northern parts. They are at first reddish like raspberries in a half-ripened state, but when fully ripe are deep purplish red, and much more palatable, each fruit being about 14 in. long, and shaped like a raspberry.

The Loganberry flourishes in heavy loamy soil, and is a useful plant for old fences or trellises, or even in waste places, where it is fully exposed to the sunshine. The old fruiting shoots should be cut away each winter, and in the spring the young shoots should have a foot or two taken off the ends, to induce the better and riper buds lower down to throw masses of white flowers, to be succeeded in due course by the fruits. Propagation is by means of suckers from the base.

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