B90803KHimalayan blackberry is to cane berries what blue gum is to eucalypti. It is what gives all cane berries a bad reputation, and is why so few of us want to grow them. Himalayan blackberry grows as an extremely vigorous weeds, extending sharply thorny canes over anything within reach. When the canes are removed, the tough roots are extremely difficult to remove and kill.

If ignored, the canes ‘leap’, which means that they develop roots where they arch back downward to touch the ground. From there, they grow into new plants that extend new canes in all directions, to start the process all over again. (‘Leaping’ is like ‘layering’, which involves the development of roots where stems ‘lay’ on the ground.) Their seed gets where their canes do not.

The thorns are ‘prickles’, which really is a technical term for sharply pointed distensions of bark or epidermis. They are more like stout prickles of rose canes than the more finely textured prickles of garden varieties of cane berries. They are rigid, extremely sharp, and curved inward to snag victims on their way out; so are seriously wicked and potentially dangerous to handle.

Harvesting berries from second year canes is not easy. Most are out of reach within bramble thickets. Because they ripen through a long season, they must be harvested repeatedly, as those that were unripe during a previous harvest finish. This is why there are black, red and green berries in the same picture. The berries are small and variable, with good years and bad years.

This happens to be a good year. The thorny truss of a few small berries in the picture may not look like much; but there are plenty of them. The berries are quite richly flavored too. Those who have the patience to collect them will get some good jam or jelly out of the deal.

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11 thoughts on “Bad Picture Of Good Berries

  1. Reblogged this on Felton League and commented:

    All these good berries are ripening now, and there is no one here to collect them for me! In the past, harvesting these blackberries, as well as the elderberries, was something that those who were unemployed or under employed were pleased to do for much less than the cost of purchasing them in the supermarket. Now that so many who were able to collect berries as recently as last year are now employed, there is no one to collect berries! I suppose I should get started,

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      1. Hah! No blackberries here! That comment goes back to a childhood memory of picking blackberries in Washington State, where they grow wild along all the back roads! We always had to watch out for bears, though we never saw any!

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      2. Wow, none?! I never bothered to consider where they live south of Monterey. I thought that they were in San Luis Obispo County as far South as Pismo Beach, but I really do not remember. I do not know what is in Washiington either. Those that I remember were garden varieties of black berry, as well as raspberry, that had naturalized

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      3. There may be blackberries down as far as SLO and Pismo — but I’m another 200 miles south of there, inland from Laguna Beach. They are a real treat in Washington State!

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      4. I so need to get mine before they roast! Those at home are already shriveling. Fortunately, someone at work directed me to some excellent berries, just in case mine are already done.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Get your suit of armour on and get pickin’.
      I don’t think that we have the Himalayan raspberry growing wild here and from your description of the prickles maybe it is just as well we don’t. We have this year planted a boysenberry, a logan berry and a tayberry , one of each as a trial planting as we are in a climatic zone that is near their northern limit. We have lots of the “wild'” black.raspberry growing here and they have just finished. Thanks for the interesting, as always, post.

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      1. Native wild blackberry is still out there somewhere, but is increasingly rare as it gets crowded out by the aggressively invasive Himalayan blackberry. The native blackberry is actually one of the parents to ‘Ben Lomond’ blackberry, which was discovered as a seed grown hybrid in Ben Lomond just upriver from here.

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  2. My previous big garden was on 1/3 acre and the whole back side of the property was a wild Himalayan berry bog. We pruned it back so often that we didn’t get the best berries from it, but the little village we lived in had pockets of the untended and spreading plants within walking distance, and long stretches of roadway were lined with them.

    We developed a tradition of whole-family berry picking in July; it was easy to get several quarts, several times. My late husband’s birthday was in July so he always had pie from those berries. I sieved the seeds out and made blackberry syrup that was the only thing we ate on pancakes for several years.

    These patches of berry plants were good for making tunnels in. We let the children use pruners and loppers and they created hideouts at our place and across the road. I don’t know why they didn’t get all scratched up making their “houses,” but I know I did while picking! Even though we worked out a method whereby you wear boots and carry a big pail. You head for some luscious looking fruit that is a couple feet into the bushes, using the bucket as a shield to push some thorny branches away, and stomping some other ones under your boots.

    Thanks for the prompt!

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    1. I was very fortunate they they had not gotten established at my home just a few miles upstream. There are some at the farm, but they are not nearly as bad as they are here closer to Felton! I really wish I could get rid of them, but is is no more possible than getting rid of the English ivy of Acacia dealbata.

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