Hi all. I am trying to learn how to distinguish the difference between blackberry, raspberry, and black raspberry. I've searched quite a bit on my own and compared what I see around my neighborhood with the known species I have, but I could use some additional help if possible, if there are any specialists out there.
Luckily, I have both raspberries growing in my garden (got from a lady in Everett) and wild blackberries in my backyard as a reference. But there are so many variations, native and otherwise, that it's difficult to identify them. I should point out, I'm referring to identification without flowers or berries. If you see the flowers or ripe berries, the plant can easily be identified.
Here's what I've learned so far, and how I tell them apart (which may be wrong, let me know):
--- Blackberry vs Red Raspberry vs Black Raspberry ---
- Thickness of thorns: blackberry are the thickest, while black raspberries are less so... and red raspberries have the finest of thorns.
- Similar to the above, while feeling the underside of the central vein of the 'front' leaf, blackberry leaves have a thorniness almost to the tip of the leaf. Black raspberries have the thorniness not nearly as prominent about half way up the leaf, and the thorns themselves are weaker as well (as above). And red raspberries have very little to no thorns on the underside of the central, end leaf.
- **Stem 'roundness': This is one of the best differentiations between raspberry (red and black) and blackberry. Even while young, blackberry stems have 'sides', or 'planes' to them. Older blackberries are easily identifiable from a distance, as the 'sides' become concave, rather than flat. You can feel a young black berry and feel the flatness of the stems. Raspberry stems are almost always round. And, as above, the thorns are much 'lighter' in raspberries.
- *Black Raspberries*: There is one special thing that distinguishes black raspberry from both red raspberries and blackberries (that I do not fully buy into, as I see too many in my neighborhood...)... black raspberries have a blue-green 'dust' on their stems. This dust can be wiped off, and you'll see a much greener color underneath. (My concerns with this are that I see this all over Capitol Hill in Seattle).
- Leaves are so differential between all plants ( number of leaves (3-5), and undersides (white - green)), that they cannot be distinguished on this factor.
- Blackberries and black raspberries tend to 'arc' and re-root themselves.
Please if you can correct me where I'm wrong and help me with additional ways to identify/distinguish these plats, please let me know. Again, I'm looking for identification prior to flowering and berries appearing.