The “Fuzzy” Raspberry

Most of us know only one type of raspberry — the red one.  The red raspberry is Rubus idaeus.  This particular species is native to Europe, thus not well-adapted to some regions in North America (i.e. those that are very hot).  It is also susceptible to diseases that make growing it difficult, if not impractical on a commercial basis in some areas. Quite some time ago, Dr. Jean Overcash at Mississippi State University bred and released ‘Dormanred’.  A hybrid raspberry that can still be found in the marketplace.  It grows well, but unfortunately has some sizable flaws (trailing growth habit, poor quality, poor flavor).   What are the alternatives?  There are black raspberries (Rubus occidentalis) which are native to North America, but somehow those do not resonate with the fruit eating public the same way that the red species does.  There are many other raspberry species, some even tropical, that could potentially be useful for hot regions of North America.  The downside is that it will take breeding to make them really viable in terms of yield, disease resistance, fruit size, fruit quality, and fruit appearance.  One such raspberry is the Fuzzy Raspberry (Rubus moluccanus var. trilobus).  It has origins in the Australasia region.  It is also apparently been declared a noxious weed species by USDA-APHIS (http://www.ars-grin.gov/cgi-bin/npgs/html/taxon.pl?414879).  Of course further breeding might help eliminate some of that problem.  It is being grown in our ornamental gardens here at the South Mississippi Research and Extension Center in Poplarville, MS by Dr. Eugene Blythe.  He was the one who pointed it out to me.  I took a couple photos to share (see below):

Fuzzy leaves

Fuzzy leaves

Rubus moluccanus var. trilobus
Rubus moluccanus var. trilobus
Developing fruit

Developing flower that will produce fruit

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2 responses

  1. Keep me posted on it’s development. I love raspberries but was told not to grow them in our state. I do have some blackberries though, and they do fine.

    • Casey:

      Raspberries generally do not do well in Mississippi with the heat and humidity. If you had the right microenvironment they may work on a small scale. They may be feasible in high tunnels too, but better Southern-adapted varieties are needed. Breeding work in being done in North Carolina at NCSU now to get more heat tolerant raspberries. Hopefully we will have some of these in the marketplace in the near future.

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