bramble, name for plants of the genus Rubus [Lat., = red, for the color of the juice]. This complex genus of the family Rosaceae (rose family), with representatives in many parts of the world, includes the blackberries, raspberries, loganberries, boysenberries, and dewberries. The plants are typically shrubs with prickly stems (called "canes") and edible fruits that botanically are not berries but aggregates of drupelets (see fruit). The underground parts of brambles are perennial and the canes biennial; only second-year canes bear flowers and fruits. Innumerable horticultural varieties have been bred. The native American black raspberry, or blackcap ( R. occidentalis ), and red raspberry ( R. strigosus ) as well as the European red raspberry ( R. idaeus ) are all cultivated in North America, chiefly in the Northeast. Numerous blackberry species and varieties are cultivated in many regions, particularly in the south central states. Closely resembling the blackberries, except for a more trailing or prostrate habit and a larger fruit, are the dewberries; the most common North American species ( R. procumbens ) is sometimes called running blackberry. The loganberries and boysenberries, with tart purplish fruits, are thought to be strains of either a variety of the Pacific dewberry ( R. ursinus ) or a hybrid between it and the red raspberry; the original plant appeared in the California orchard of Judge J. H. Logan in 1881. Bramble berries were eaten by the Native Americans. Berries are grown commercially in Europe and North America for sale as fresh, canned, and frozen fruit and for use in numerous types of preserves and fruit-flavored beverages and liqueurs. In England the name bramble is applied chiefly to the common wild blackberry. Other thorny shrubs are sometimes also called brambles. Brambles are classified in the division Magnoliophyta, class Magnoliopsida, order Rosales, family Rosaceae.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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