Rubus Breeding


I looked up the answer this morning. Rosa rugosa is diploid. And like Rosa pomifera, it’s readily available. The plot thickens! Oh yes, there will be fun had with these experiments. :smile:


In prep for growing my own crosses I thought it would be a good idea to practice germinating seeds. I bought seeds on ebay. I planted these seeds out last summer in pots and covered them with shade cloth. I removed the cloth this fall and thought I had failed. But now I realized I might just have succeeded 4 for 4. The only weeds that look remotely like these sprouts are false strawberry and I am unable to locate similar looking sprouts in the in the garden area.


Looks like good germination! No stratification, no acid, no special treatment? Just planted and left alone?

I got some R. ulmifolius seeds from Brazil to try a diploid Blackberry; I planted half straight, and stratified the whole soil-filled pot with the other half. I think it’s been a year, and at this point I’ve no idea which was which, I’ve lost track of one of the pots, and I have a single little plant that germinated in the remaining one, though I fear it might be a strawberry seedling. Despite supposedly requiring freezing to get good germination, I’ve actually had several alpine volunteers from seed sprouting in some of my pots, and it doesn’t even get cold here in the dead of winter. Go figure.


I checked out the White Blackberry thread.

Actually, going by this link, Snowbank’s Lawton parent is a R. allegheniensis x R. frondosus hybrid. I couldn’t find info on the Crystal White’s heritage. Is R. frondosus diploid like R. allegheniensis?

Are the Snowbanks confirmed diploids? That’s my preferred ploidy in breeding stock, and I plan on acquiring Snowbank, Anne Yellow Raspberry, and some Yellowcaps to try my hand at pale-fruited hybrids. So, for some follow-up questions…

I noticed that all the available Purple Raspberries are back-crosses to Red rather than an even split between Red and Black. Why is that? Do the Blackcap’s traits and flavor profile predominate over the Red’s? Is a back-cross required to make a more intermediate fruit? Will I need to back-cross my F1 “Yellow Purple” in order to make an evenly-split fruit?

Also, why haven’t Black or Purple Raspberries been used in breeding “Logan” type hybrids? The only one I can think of is the Olympic Berry seen here, but I’d think there should be more work done with them. Incidentally, Olympic is high on my wish list, but I can’t find it anywhere.

When making a three-part hybrid, should I breed Purple to Blackberry, or should I first cross Blackberry to Blackcap and then add Red? Breeding logic tells me to go with Purple, for more evenly-split genetics (truly half Rasp-, half Blackberry), but flavor logic tells me to breed the dark fruits together and then breed to red for more evenly-split flavor (but then, Blackcaps are said to taste different from Blackberries). Should I just go for broke and try both routes?

What should I call a White “Logan”? Not like a market name, but a common name. It seems improper to use “Logan” when there aren’t any actual Logans in its heritage (or even R. ursinus, the Logan’s Blackberry parent). Come to think of it, the whole Black X Rasp category could use a common name. “Logan” is a specific cultivar, distinct from “Tay” (the only other halfbreed) and distinct from “Boysen” and the other back-crosses. The only name I’ve found online for them is “Hybrid Berries”, but that doesn’t seem right, as it excludes Purple Rasps and other hybrids. I know it’s still to early for me to think of names when I haven’t done the hybrids yet, but the argument stands: it still bugs me that the pre-existing hybrids don’t have a name for their category (just marketable cultivar names).


I am sure you will find this helpful

Yes as for Snowbank this publication confirms it as 2x


Yes, nothing alike at all.

I think lumping them together makes little sense. Logan has the Lincoln - Logan gene for thornlessness, one of three genes known to create thornless blackberries. I know two are recessive, so to express the gene a back cross is needed. Columbia Star is the only example of the recently discovered third thornless gene.

As far as Your other questions, I’m not sure. I would need to research them, and get lucky to find info.


Very helpful indeed, thank you!

And that bodes well for the experiments, so it’s nice to hear.

Can you describe the flavor? I’ve not had the pleasure of tasting them.

I guess my thinking is that while the particular parent stock might be variable, said stock is always consistently a Blackberry (Rubus subg. Rubus) and a Raspberry (Rubus subg. idaeobatus). If any other subgenus were involved, then grouping them together would be like a wastebin taxon, but in all the hybrids so far it’s always been those two, so there is a sense of consistency.

Did the Logan derive its thornlessness from the Dewberry parent or from the Raspberry parent? And does Columbia Star lack Raspberry in its heritage?


They are low acid like, When fully ripe not tart, when almost ripe not tart. Flavor is subtle. A dark berry flavor. Are seedy thus can be mealy. I much prefer the taste of the wild black raspberries. I have a wild yellow black raspberry from Ontario. I crossed it with Niwot. The offspring is primocane producing like Niwot. It is black, the yellow didn’t taste very good to me. The F1 seedling is like Niwot, and the primocane crop is not that good tasting. This summer I’ll taste floricane berries for the first time and decide if I’m going to keep it or not? This wild from Ontario has huge berries for a wild plant. Seems to tolerate drought better than the cultivars Jewel, or Niwot. It out produces them too. I have high hopes for this cross. My Niwot plant died. I can compare the berries to Jewel though.
Blackberries I feel have high acid, thus tart, if high sugar too, it’s superb. Blackberry flavor differs a lot between cultivars. Much more than raspberries do. The Thornless all have similar taste, except Lochness (from the UK). I think Navajo, and Triple Crown are the best flavored thornless. Eastern blackberries and western blackberries also taste different. And the hybrids do too. And then we have the everything berries like New Berry and Columbia Star each with over 35 cultivars in their linage. New Berry is outstanding.

I have not looked at this info in some time. i was wrong about Columbia Star is derives it’s thornlessness from Lincoln-Logan. I’m not sure about how Logan became thornless?
Columbia Star does not have no direct raspberry, but has Lincoln Logan, Marion, Logan, and Austin Thornless in it’s linage. It has Marion all over, so is about 20% Marion by pedigree It has about 15 New Zealand hybrids in it too, as well as Cherokee and Black Butte. Young Berry too.
I prefer New Berry it also has Marion, and Logan, but also Boysen. It only has about 20 cultivars, not 35, like Columbia in it’s pedigree. Some of the info is on origins is fuzzy. From what i gather Logan is thornless, but can develop some thorns. This new Lincoln Logan plant seems to have no thorns. It is what was used for Columbia Star.


Subtle? I had thought them intense, considering some like them better than reds. I don’t mind seedy or mealy with brambles (though I’ve yet to taste one with hard large stones). Do the wild ones taste different?

Is Niwot not a particularly great cultivar? OneGreenWorld is selling an everbearing black (which I understand to mean primocane fruiter) called Ohio’s Treasure, and I’m thinking of trying it out. I have Black Hawk (which I think I’ll put into the ground, so I can finally get a crop), and had Allen at the top of my wanted list for quality, according to what I’d read. Considering your experiment, it seems one might breed further primocane fruiters out of pre-existing ones. This bodes well for breeding a higher quality everbearer. Was that large-fruited wild yellowcap a R. occidentalis or was it a R. leucodermis? I did some searching to find out if there was Leuco ancestry in any of the domestic blackcaps, but according to this article, there was only one cultivar reported to be of hybrid descent, and even that one was placed in doubt by the study. According to this one, hybrids between the two tend to inherit inferior traits from the Leuco side (dull colored, soft and smaller fruit). Keep us updated on your hybrid, I might like some stock if it turns out good and you ever have any to spare. :wink:

I have very little experience with blackberries. The only ones I recall eating are the Driscoll ones at the supermarket. They’re pretty good! But with all I’ve been reading around this forum lately, I have half a mind to get a dozen varieties to grow for myself, maybe get a taste of that blackberry diversity. Even more so with the everything berries. I understand not all will grow well in my neck of the woods, but I’m willing to try everything that comes my way.

On further searching, I actually managed to turn up some modern information on Rubus nubigenus and a couple of other Andean Blackberries (Rubus subgenus Lampobatus). Apparently fresh consumption of R. nubigenus (a hexaploid species) is limited by its large seeds, but it’s good for processing, with a similar flavor to R. glaucus (the major commercialized species of Lampobatus in South America). Rubus choachiensis is a hard-seeded species mainly used for processing. Rubus robustus is a diploid, and the one that most approaches R. glaucus in quality, with an agreeable acidic flavor and small seeds. I don’t remember where I read this, but I’ve read that R. glaucus is considered on par with the better blackberry hybrids, with a loganberry-like mix of raspberry and blackberry flavor.

The links are in Spanish, so I don’t know how useful they’ll be for the folks here, but I’ll post them for anyone interested:

The main site.

Rubus nubigenus.

Rubus choachiensis.

Rubus robustus.

Incidentally, they also have profiles on tropical blueberries, like Vaccinium meridionale, Macleania rupestris and Cavendishia prostrata, as well as other interesting information (other wild fruits, cultivation studies, domestic fruit comparisons, economic potential, etc.).


Yes. seem more flavorful, probably more acid too. Black raspberries are low acid fruit. Well as far as zing goes.

The primocane berries are not good. The floricane berries are excellent. I’m not sure why mine died? I have offspring though!

The breeder of Niwot did, but was too old to wait another 20 years to release it (how long it takes to go through the process), so he didn’t. He did give me seeds from the cross. I want to get my technique down before I try. They are frozen. I also have some wild seed collected from all over he gave me. Maybe next year I’ll try. He said the new hybrid had better primocane berries. .
Ohio Tresure is an old cultivar, worth trying at least. A member has some plants for trade, but not sure what he is looking for? See “Propagate Honeyberry / Haskap cuttings? Follow along” thread.

They look like occidentalis, collected in the wild, not bought.I have had them for years, I want them for breeding. The yellow fruits are not that good.


Would you be willing to sell or trade a clone of the offspring?

I found the member, I hope it goes well. :slightly_smiling_face:

Edit: As long as I’m here, I may as well ask… Is there anyone on the forum that has the Burbank Thornles Blackberry (R. ulmifolius) and would like to trade? I need it precisely for breeding, as I require a dark-fruited diploid Blackberry (I’d rather not rely on Snowbank for some of my crosses). I looked for it online, but it’s apparently only available in Luther Burbank Home and Gardens in Santa Rosa, and they don’t ship. I thought about posting in the trade section, but it had a lock symbol, so I thought I couldn’t post there and didn’t bother. Does anyone have this blackberry?


Yeah well i can tip root you one of the yellows, or whatever you want. i have offspring of Niwot also, if that is what you mean? It’s about to flower and I’m making more crosses soon.


The yellow and the Niwot offspring, please. :grin:


OK, sure I can tip root that one. I wanted the large size berries, and it has them. I’ll show some soon as it’s about to open it’s flowers. Fruit all over the garden is forming. I need to protect some. Busy busy!


Are the yellow (blackberries) less acidic than regular blackberries? I like sour, but I almost never seem to get blackberries that aren’t sour enough to cause you to throw your head back… Personally I think its a lack of sunshine (too much shade) but I could be wrong.

Or are the yellows black-raspberries?

i’ll admit I leave a couple wild blacks wandering around the yard because I like the fruit, but I may have to limit their spread. Japanese wineberries are on their last year with me. If they are not excellent this year, out they go because I don’t need another thorny thing getting me when weeding other plants.


BTW…I am trying to root our two cuttings of that sweet haskap for you (Giant Heart, isn’t it?) I’ll let you know how things are going in a couple weeks.


Yes, correct. They come in red too. Unusual to see them. I have seeds to a wild red black raspberry. I may try to grow out next year. It may be the sun on tartness, as I don’t find them that tart, or it’s me! It might be?


oikios sells a flavorful yellow black raspberry. check them out.


I bought one. I bought a plug its going to take some growing before it can crop. I also bought the Pink Thimbleberry and the Wineberry. I could have dug some local wild wineberries but I never found the time to last year and didn’t want to forget again.


Duly noted. I checked 'em out, and I think I’ll trial those three varieties myself. I hope the thimbleberry can take heavier shade like the purebred variant, 'cause that would be an advantage in my area, unless it can take tropical sun without a problem (I kinda doubt that :sweat_smile: ).


Yes I have one in full shade here in Michigan. Grows like a beast. But these are northern wild plants. Seem to do OK here, but I doubt they would do well much further south of me.