Friday, July 13, 2012

Wine Berries

The forests in our area are filled with these yummy (but non-native) berries and they are ripening right now! We went berry picking over the weekend. These are wine berries (with a couple of blackberries thrown in for good measure.) They look alot like raspberries.
Here is what Wikipedia has to say about them:

Rubus phoenicolasius (Japanese Wineberry, Wineberry, or Wine Raspberry) is a species of raspberry (Rubus subgenus Idaeobatus) native to northern China, Japan, and Korea.[2] The species was introduced to Europe and North America as an ornamental plant and for its potential in breeding hybrid raspberries. It has subsequently escaped from cultivation and become naturalised and sometimes invasive in parts of Europe and eastern North America.

Wineberries grow wild throughout much of North America. They are common along the edges of fields and roadsides, but are not widely cultivated. They are one of the most easily identified wild edible plants, with no poisonous look-a-likes in North America. Other plants that wineberries may be mistaken for include the red raspberry, black raspberry, and blackberry, all of which are also edible. People who are just starting to learn how to gather wild food often start by gathering wineberries (and similar bramble fruit). Ripe berries are sweet and tart, with a raspberry-like flavor.
Wineberries are used in food much like raspberries, typically for pie or other sweet treats.

And more:
Wineberries are a kind of raspberry. The scientific name, Rubus phoenicolasius, means “raspberry with purple hairs.” Native to eastern Asia, it was introduced into eastern America in the late 1800s for use as breeding stock in developing new raspberry varieties. It is still used in breeding programs today as well as in the detection of viruses harmful to other raspberry plants.
But it is also a good example of the adage that one man’s wildflower is another man’s weed. Wineberry is a vigorous grower that has escaped cultivation and can spread to form dense thickets, crowding out native plants in natural ecosystems. It is considered an invasive weed in many states, including Pennsylvania. It prefers moist soils in sun or light shade and is common in forests, fields, stream and wetland edges, open woods, and roadsides.

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