Osage Blackberry, or not?

I’m new to growing blackberries and last spring I planted four varieties of blackberries ordered from Indiana Berry: Osage, Ouachita, Natchez and Von. They have grown well in my zone 7b garden, are now fruiting as expected on the floricanes, and new primocanes are actively growing.

A few weeks back I tipped the Osage primocanes at around 3 feet and they have continued to grow and are now about 4 to 5 feet tall. What I didn’t expect to see are flower buds on these primocanes, as Osage isn’t described as primocane fruiting.

Of the four varieties I planted, the Osage are by far the most vigorous growers, the most erect, and were the first to flower and set fruit.

Do floricane fruiting blackberries occasionally fruit on their primocanes, or is it more likely that I was sent the wrong variety?


I don’t know if floricane varieties of blackberries fruit on the primocanes, but some “summer-bearing” (floricane) raspberries do. I have a couple varieties like that (Prelude and Nova).

As far as Osage is concerned, I planted one last year (from Indiana Berry, too) and it did not fruit last year. It had some significant cane damage from the cold, but has bloomed/is blooming, and set some small berries. It has responded to the dieback by sending up maybe 4 or 5 vigorous primocanes, of which one is almost 5ft tall.

One thing I noticed odd was that the blossoms have a light purple tint to them. Can you recall what color your Osage blooms are?

The fact your Osage is very vigorous, bloomed earliest and is fruiting on tipped primocanes makes me think you may have got a PrimeArk Freedom or Traveler. I am curious as to what color your Osage blossoms were.

I have both, PAF had its big floricane killed by the cold, but has sent up over a dozen vigorous primocanes. PAT did better in regards to the cold, and bloomed and set fruit before Osage and Ouachita.

Also, Natchez should be the first of the UArk blackberries to bloom and fruit, ahead of Osage and Ouachita. PAF floricanes start ripening 6-10 days before Natchez.

Thanks for your thoughts and observations.

When the first flower opened I was surprised that it wasn’t white, so I took a picture.

I searched and found the patent info on Osage: “Petal color: Red Purple Group (65C) on both upper and lower surfaces”. This matches what we have observed. Are the flowers on Freedom and Traveler white?

This morning I took another look at the Osage plants and noticed that, so far, only one of the three plants has flowers on its primocanes. All three are the same in flower color and other characteristics. It will be interesting to see if all produce flowers on their primocanes.

Since you have seen primocane flowers on your summer bearing raspberries, I guess flowers on Osage primocanes isn’t completely out of the question. Perhaps others will chime in with their observations.

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Those flowers look like my osage. This year i have seen a strong shoot coming from down low on a fruiting cane that grew over 2 ft and looked like a primocane. I was getting ready to top it and train to my trellis wire when to my surprise it stopped growing and sent out flowers. That was on a kiowa plant. Maybe its not that unusual?

Looks like mine when they flowered.

Barry - your experience with the kiowa floricane looking like a primocane prompted me to trace my Osage’s flowering primocanes directly to the ground to be sure. I suppose they could be branching off floricanes just below the ground level making them appear to be primocanes, but if that’s the case, there are no primocanes so far this year.

I guess for now I’ll treat them as if they truly are primocane fruiting blackberries by cutting those canes back a bit after fruiting and then wait for next spring to see if they’re dead or alive.

Traveler and Ouachita are white, can’t say about Freedom yet, maybe the others who’ve fruited Freedom can say, like @k8tpayaso, @Auburn, etc.

I guess it could happen, especially in areas where there aren’t a lot of chill hours. You’ve said you’re in zone 7b, but not what part of the country.

According to what I’ve read, if a primocane fruits, it will be at the top (tip) part of the cane (or the tips of laterals if it was topped); floricanes fruit lower down on the cane. Also, a primo will a lighter color to it, probably some shade of green, whereas a floricane will look more brown-ish.

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Flowers on Prime Ark Freedom are white.

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I’m in central North Carolina about 20 miles south of the Virginia border.

The canes in question match this description of primocanes.

One of the few times I don’t have any PAF blooms but I see that the question about bloom color has already been answered.