There are two main types of raspberries: red and black. Yellow-fruited raspberries result from a mutation of red raspberries that prevents the formation of red color; they are grown exactly the same as red raspberries. Purple raspberries, a third type, are a hybrid between black and red raspberries.
This publication briefly describes each type of raspberry. Tables 1-4 list cultivars in approximate order of ripening within each type.
Hybrids between blackberry and red raspberry include ‘Logan’, ‘Boysen’, and ‘Tayberry’. These fruits are blackberries and are included in the OSU Extension publication Blackberry Cultivars for Oregon (EC 1617). In blackberries, the core is part of the fruit; in raspberries, the core remains attached to the plant when the fruit is picked.
Red raspberries (Rubus idaeus) are native to northern North America and Eurasia. Cultivated red raspberries were introduced into the United States as long ago as 1771.
Red raspberries produce new canes from buds on roots and from the crown. In the first year, canes are called primocanes. In the second year, they are called floricanes. Canes are pruned out after their second year. Both primocanes and floricanes are present during the growing season.
There are two types of red raspberries. In floricane-fruiting (summer-bearing) cultivars, the second-year floricanes bear a crop in early summer and the first-year primocanes are vegetative only. Primocane-fruiting (fall-bearing) cultivars produce a significant amount of fruit at the top of the primocanes in the fall. The easiest way to manage primocane-fruiting raspberries is to cut the primocanes to the ground each winter after fruiting. If you keep them for the second year, however, they will produce a crop on the floricanes the next summer. Because primocane-fruiting types can be double cropped, they sometimes are called everbearing raspberries. Red raspberry cultivars are listed in Tables 1 and 2.
Black raspberries (Rubus occidentalis), sometimes called blackcaps, are native from the Northeast to the Great Plains. The native western black raspberry is R. leucodermis.
Black raspberries produce canes only from the crown, not from the roots. Tip primocanes in summer to encourage branching. These canes produce fruit the following year.
In the early 1900s, there were dozens of black raspberry cultivars, and new cultivars were released until about the 1960s. Until recently, there has been little breeding work on black raspberries, and only a handful of cultivars are now commonly available. In the Northwest, nearly the entire commercial crop is ‘Munger’, a cultivar released in 1890. Black raspberry cultivars are listed in Table 3.
Purple raspberries are a hybrid between black and red raspberries. They tend to be vigorous, crown-forming plants with large, soft fruit. Purple raspberries are generally considered to have only fair quality for fresh use, but they are excellent for processing. Purple raspberry cultivars are listed in Table 4.
Cultivar table notes
Tables 1–4 list floricane-fruiting and primocane-fruiting raspberries, black raspberries, and purple raspberries. The descriptions are intended to serve only as a guide in choosing a cultivar that’s appropriate for your needs. Performance often varies with location.
Not all of the listed cultivars are available in nurseries; however, these are included in the tables because plants are long lived, and established plantings of older cultivars still exist.
Most raspberry cultivars are sensitive to Phytophthora root rot; this disease is a much greater problem in Oregon and southern Washington than in northern Washington and British Columbia. Grow raspberries on very welldrained soils and on raised beds or ridges (about 12 to 18 inches high) to promote drainage.
Raspberry bushy dwarf virus (RBDV) is a pollen-borne virus (carried by bees); the primary symptom is crumbly fruit. Usually a raspberry plant infected with RBDV looks normal and is neither bushy nor dwarf. There are no control measures for this virus other than to replant with virus-free stock and choose resistant cultivars. In Tables 1 and 2, assume cultivars are susceptible to RBDV unless otherwise noted.
Fruit descriptions and yield
Descriptions of yield and berry size are primarily based on results of trials by the USDAARS/OSU cooperative breeding program at the OSU North Willamette Research and Extension Center in Aurora, Oregon, and the Washington State University breeding program in Puyallup, Washington. If a cultivar has not been tested at these sites, yield and berry descriptions are based on grower experience. Yield ratings are based on comparison to other cultivars of the same type. Red raspberries are generally more productive than black raspberries.
Most berries sold in the fresh market are hand harvested, firm, and bright red. They have a shelf life of several days if properly handled and refrigerated. Berries grown for processing are machine harvested and have intense red color and flavor.
Cultivars adapted to machine harvest have good plant architecture, easy fruit release from the receptacle when the berry is ripe, and fruit that is firm enough for individually quick frozen (IQF) markets. Machine-harvested fruit will not store for more than a few hours after harvest.
A commercial value score is provided to help commercial growers select appropriate cultivars for fresh and processed markets:
- Appropriate for most commercial operations
- May have commercial value but:
- not enough is known about its performance or
- may meet a specific requirement
- Unlikely to have good commercial value
Small farm, U-pick, and home gardens
Cultivars that are well suited to small farms, local sales, U-pick farms, and home gardens are noted as such. However, we advise home gardeners not to grow cultivars that are susceptible to root rot west of the Cascades, except where there is very good drainage.
Cold hardiness is indicated if information is available. Grow only cold-hardy cultivars east of the Cascades. Primocane-fruiting raspberries can be grown in most cold regions if only a primocane, and not the floricane, crop is produced. Many cultivars from eastern U.S. nurseries might be well adapted to eastern Oregon, eastern Washington, and Idaho.
|Cultivar||Disease issues||Plant||Fruit||Yield||Use||Machine Harvest||Large-scale commercial value||Small farm or home garden||Cold hardy|
|Prelude (U.S. Plant Patent 11,747)||Resistant to root rot||Moderate vigor||Small size, soft, dull, medium red, good flavor, very early floricane crop, also produces small primocane crop||Low to medium||Fresh||3||yes||yes|
|Cascade Dawn (U.S. Plant Patent 17,985)||Some tolerance to root rot, immune to RBDV||Vigorous||Medium to large size, medium firmness, attractive, bright dark red, very good flavor, difficult fruit release unless fully ripe||Medium||Fresh||2 (nursery plants may not be available)||yes|
|Malahat||Very susceptible to root rot||Vigorous||Medium to large size, medium firmness, attractive, bright red, very good flavor||Low to medium||Fresh||2 (high quality, low yield)|
|Willamette||Susceptible to root rot, immune to RBDV||Vigorous||Medium size, soft, dark red, very good flavor||Medium||Processed||yes||1||yes|
|Rudi||Moderately susceptible to root rot||Medium vigor||Medium to large size, medium to dark red, good flavor||High||Fresh and processed||yes||2 (too new to fully evaluate but expected to be fine)||yes|
|Chilcotin||Susceptible to root rot, immune to RBDV||Vigorous||Medium size, medium firmness, attractive, bright light red, good flavor||Medium||Fresh||2||yes|
|Boyne||Tolerant to root rot, immune to RBDV||Vigorous||Medium size, soft, dark red, good flavor||Medium||Fresh||3||yes||yes|
|Canby||Susceptible to root rot||Very vigorous||Medium size, medium firmness, attractive, bright red, very good flavor||Low to medium||Fresh||3||yes||yes|
|Latham||Resistant to root rot, immune to RBDV||Moderate vigor||Small size, crumbly, medium red, only fair flavor||Medium||Fresh||3||yes|
|Killarney||Moderate resistance to root rot, immune to RBDV||Moderate vigor||Medium size, soft, medium to dark red, sweet, excellent flavor||Medium||Fresh||3||yes||yes|
|Cascade Gold||Very susceptible to root rot, immune to RBDV||Vigorous||Large size, yellow fruit, excellent flavor, retains good flavor even when picked at firm stage||Medium to high||Fresh||2 (limited market for yellow types)||yes|
|Cascade Bounty (U.S. Plant Patent 18,246)||Excellent resistance to root rot||Vigorous||Medium size, medium firmness, can be a bit lumpy, bright red, fair flavor||High||Processed||yes||2||yes||yes|
|Chemainus||Somewhat sensitive to root rot||Vigorous||Medium size, firm, bright red, very good flavor||Medium||Fresh or processed||yes||1||yes|
|Saanich||Susceptible to root rot||Vigorous||Medium size, good firmness, dull red, good flavor||Medium||Processed||yes||2|
|Meeker||Somewhat sensitive to root rot||Vigorous||Medium size, medium firmness, medium red, good flavor||High||Processed||yes||1||yes|
|Tulameen||Very susceptible to root rot||Vigorous||Large to very large size, firm, very attractive, bright red, excellent flavor||Medium||Fresh||2 (high susceptibility to root rot limits commercial potential in this region)||yes|
|Cascade Delight (U.S. Plant Patent 14,522)||Tolerant to root rot||Very vigorous||Very large size, very firm, attractive, bright red, excellent flavor||Medium to high||Fresh||1 (hand pick fresh only)||yes|
|Wakefield (U.S. Plant Patent 21,185)||Relatively new but appears to develop RBDV slowly, if at all||Vigorous, primocanes not very selfsupporting||Small to medium size, very firm, a bit dull in color, good flavor||High||Processed||yes||1 (available only to licensed growers; sold only as tissuecultured plants)|
|Lewis||Somewhat tolerant to root rot||Vigorous||Large size, firm, bright red, very good flavor||Medium to high||Fresh or processed||Unknown at this time||2 (difficult to obtain)||yes|
|Cultivar||Disease issues||Plant||Fruit||Yield||Large-scale commercial value||Small farm or home garden||Cold hardy|
|Autumn Bliss (U.S. Plant Patent 6,597)||Good resistance to root rot||Moderate vigor||Large size, moderate firmness, attractive, medium red, mild flavor||Medium||2 (early season)||yes||yes|
|Autumn Britten||Moderate to good vigor||Large size, moderate firmness, attractive, bright red, mild flavor||Low to medium||2 (early season)||yes||yes|
|Amity||Moderate vigor||Small size, medium firmness, attractive, bright red, very good flavor||Medium||3||yes||yes|
|Vintage||Some sensitivity to root rot||Moderate vigor||Large size, firm, attractive, bright red, outstanding flavor||Medium to high||2 (too new to fully evaluate but expected to be fine)||yes||yes|
|Anne||Susceptible to root rot||Vigorous||Large size, soft to medium firmness, attractive, bright yellow, excellent flavor||Medium to high||1 (market for yellow types may be limited)||yes||yes|
|Caroline||Susceptible to root rot||Vigorous||Large size, moderate firmness, attractive, medium red, good flavor||High||3||yes||yes|
|Fallgold||Moderate vigor||Medium size, very soft, gold color, excellent flavor||Medium||2||yes||yes|
|Joan J||Susceptible to root rot||Vigorous||Small to medium size, firm, very dark red, mild flavor||Medium||2||yes||yes|
|Jaclyn||Resistant to root rot||Very vigorous, susceptible to leaf rust||Small size, very long narrow berry, dark red, hard to pick||Low to medium||3||yes|
|Himbo Top||Some resistance to root rot||Vigorous||Small size, early ripening, dark red, mild flavor||Medium||3||yes|
|Polka||Low susceptibility to root rot||Vigorous||Medium to large size, firm, attractive, dark red, mild but good flavor||Medium to high||1||yes||yes|
|Polana||Vigorous||Small to medium size, dark red||Medium||3||yes|
|Heritage||Immune to RBDV||Vigorous||Medium size, firm, attractive, bright red, bland, ripens late so has short fruiting season in cold climates||Low to high (low yield in cold climates with short season)||1||yes||yes|
|Kiwigold||Immune to RBDV||Vigorous||These are sports of Heritage and differ only in fruit color. Kiwigold is yellow or apricot yellow. Goldie typically is a deep apricot color.||Low to high (low yield in cold climates with short season)||1||yes||yes|
|Crimson Glant||Moderate vigor||Large size, dull light red color, uneven shape, bland flavor||Moderate||2||yes||yes|
|Crimson Night||Vigorous||Medium size, very dark (“black”) fruit, mild flavor||Low to moderate||3 (novelty)||yes||yes|
|Josephine||Good resistance to root rot||Vigorous||Large size, moderate firmness, attractive, bright red, good flavor, ripens late so has short fruiting season in cold climates||Low to high (low yield in cold climates with short season)||1||yes||yes|
|Nantahala||Vigorous||Small size, dark red fruit, works well in tunnels in southern Oregon||Very low (unless grown in tunnels)||2||yes|
|Cultivar||Plant||Fruit||Yield||Use||Machine harvest||Large-scale commercial value||Small farm or home garden||Cold hardy|
|Jewel||Vigorous||Medium to large size, good firmness, black, excellent flavor||Low to medium||Fresh||1||yes||yes|
|Munger||Vigorous||Medium size, fair firmness, black, very good flavor||Medium||Processed||yes||1||yes|
|MacBlack||Vigorous||Medium to large seize, good firmness, black, good flavor, ripens 10 to 14 days later than most other cultivars||Low to medium||Fresh||2 (unique for late season)||yes|
|Niwot||Primocane-fruiting (fall-bearing). Tip to encourage branching and flowering.||Small to medium size, ripens in September||Low||Fresh||2 (unique for very late season)||yes||yes|
|Culitvar||Plant||Fruit||Yield||Use||Large-scale commercial value||Small farm or home garden||Cold hardy|
|Brandywine||Vigorous||Large to very large size, soft, purple, excellent flavor||High to very high||Local fresh market or processed||3||yes||yes|
|Royalty||Vigorous||Large to very large size, soft, purple, excellent flavor||High||Local fresh market or processed||3||yes||yes|
For more information
- Commercial Red Raspberry Production in the Pacific Northwest (PNW 598). Oregon State University Extension.
- Growing Raspberries in Your Home Garden (EC 1306). Oregon State University Extension.
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