Black Raspberry vs. Blackberry: Similarities and Differences
Both black raspberries and blackberries are great-tasting, easy-to-grow fruits that, with a little effort, can be grown in the backyard, even in pots and containers.
Besides great fragrance and many health benefits, both plants can be very decorative, with their green leaves contrasting with flowers in the flowering season, followed by red unripe and dark black ripe fruits.
Since these fruits look so similar, many gardeners ask what the actual difference between the black raspberry and the blackberry is.
Published: September 10, 2022.
Intro to Black Raspberries and Blackberries
First of all, black raspberries and blackberries are not real berries - their fruits are made of drupelets that grow together and make one berry. For short, black raspberries and blackberries are so-called "aggregate fruits," with each drupelet containing a seed.
But that doesn't make them less tasty and more difficult to grow.
Both black raspberries and blackberries are not very picky plants - they prefer well-drained, slightly acidic soil with a constant amount of moisture, with larger varieties requiring some sort of support system.
Also, they don't require extra fertile soil, but when the soil is rich in nutrients (especially from the decomposing organic matter), they may provide surprisingly large yields.
Both black raspberries and blackberries are rather tolerant to pests and diseases, but the gardener should observe plants and act if required.
Differences Between Black Raspberries and Blackberries
Despite being so similar, black raspberries and blackberries differ in several details.
While many varieties of blackberries prefer mild climates and even grow well in warmer climates, black raspberries prefer somewhat colder climates. But that doesn't mean that they can't grow in the same garden, on the contrary, depending on the region, blackberries can be, for example, grown in the full sun (looking toward the south), while black raspberries can be grown in partial shade and looking towards the north.
Black raspberry fruits are more round with very fine hairs and matte surface, while blackberry fruits are generally larger, shinier, and more elongated.
When the fruits are fully ripe and ready to pick, black raspberries are much easier to pick, while the blackberries still require some force to come off the stem.
Also, when the fruits are picked up, check the fruit core: when picked, black raspberries feature a hollow core, while blackberries feature a pale yellow-greenish core.
The fruits of black raspberries tend to be sweeter, and the fruits of blackberries are more tart.
Picking season, especially the season of wild ones, is different - the season of the black raspberries is around mid-June to early July, while blackberries ripen in mid-July to mid-August.
Note: depending on the variety and area, seasons of black raspberries and blackberries may easily overlap, making them even harder to differentiate.
Since they both grow on woody stems with canes, black raspberries and blackberries are known as "cane-berry" (caneberry) plants, with black raspberries being less thorny than blackberries.
On the other hand, thornless varieties of blackberries are also very popular.
Also, black raspberry plants tend to be larger than blackberry plants, but again, with so many varieties offered, it is hard to tell which one is which by just looking at the plant's height.
Also, they are easy to grow, and they taste great.
By choosing proper varieties, the gardener can easily prolong the harvesting season of black, aromatic berries, regardless if they are black raspberries or blackberries.
And if the local soil and position don't suit these berries, they can be grown in pots and containers and be kept indoors during extra cold days.