Berries are delicious fresh from the bush or tree. These berries can be grown successfully in a home garden with just a little attention to detail. To make harvesting easier, choose a thornless blackberry variety. However, thorny blackberry varieties have their own set of benefits.
With proper attention, these berries can be grown successfully in a backyard or window box in your home. Fresh berries from the bush or tree are delectable. However, thorns are present in native berries found in the wild for a good reason: protection. Yes, these thorns can prick and hurt animals that can damage the whole fruit.
Grazing animals, wildlife, and even birds attempt to get the luscious fruit from wild berries. Through scientific intervention and the rise of plant hybrids and GMOs, thorn-filled berries are transformed into thornless variants. At first, thornless berries (or hybrid berries) have reduced quality in terms of berry size, shape, and even taste.
Nowadays, you can now own thornless berries that you can grow in your garden. This is because these variants have mastered the actual taste and quality of native berries. Thornless berries are cultivated commercially to retain the berry’s shape and taste.
With that in mind, are berries with thorns still usable?
The answer is a clear yes. You can still have thorn-filled berry plants, especially if you grow your plant outdoors and consider higher berry yield. This will give you decent protection and coverage against berry-eating animals and critters that can pass through your garden patch. Also, it will provide you with the authentic berry taste that most berry-lovers love and adore.
What Berries Have Thorns?
Thorny berry bushes are a deliberate biological design to keep predators away from the berries. However, while many wild berries can be found but are poisonous, prickly vines in your backyard can be used to grow a selection of edible sweet fruit called brambles.
As a fruit group, brambles are a classification of berries known for their clustered globes of fruit (called drupes or drupelets), as well as its more obvious thorns. This makes brambles challenging to misidentify. That is why berry foragers pick their way carefully through brambles with a bucket in hand.
- Raspberries can be red, purple, yellow, or nearly black, depending on the variety. Raspberries are thorny shrubs that can reach a height of 6 feet to keep pests from spreading.
- Various blackberry hybrids have thorns that are recommended for outdoor planting and wildlife repropagation. Cherokee, Kiowa, Brazos, and Black Butte are some of the berry hybrids with prickles. To avoid the spread of disease when you plant blackberries, make sure no raspberries, tomatoes, eggplants, or peppers were previously buried in the same spot.
- Gooseberry plants have thin stems, but their leaves and thorns are densely packed. Prickly gooseberry can be found primarily in the state’s eastern half. They have reddish-purple fruit when the spines on the leaves fall off. Even though they have prickles, these gooseberries are edible.
- Even though the thorns on thorny boysenberries are small, the berry does have its name because of them. However, for many gardeners, the increased cold hardiness justifies the trade-off. This variety produces larger, better-tasting berries as well as higher yields. Many boysenberry harvests are used to make jams, jellies, pies, yogurt, and ice cream, among other things.
Why Do Blackberry Have Thorns?
Fresh blackberries are commonly eaten. Additionally, they can be frozen or canned for later use in desserts such as ice cream and juices, as well as pies and jellies. Antioxidants and vitamins abound in blackberries—high in phosphorus, iron, potassium, and calcium.
Blackberry shrubs have a short lifespan, usually less than ten years, and can grow up to a height of three meters. Some are thornless, while others have thorns. The shrubs that produce thorn-filled berries are known as brambles, and they are native to all continents except Australia and Antarctica.
There are a lot of possibilities on why berries have thorn-filled and thornless variants. Thorns could deter large predators such as deer because they are wandering creatures and may drop seeds that will not grow. Thorns also encourage fruit selectivity, especially in birds, who are more likely to disperse the seeds than other animals.
While thorns are effective against large fauna and birds, it is not always the same for small critters. For example, shrews and mice have small bodies that would not find the thorns an obstruction. Humans have also created ways to remove the thorn obstruction from the blackberries without risking the fruit’s quality.
Commercial and home growers alike can choose from a wide variety of blackberry cultivars. Some of the thorn-filled blackberry varieties like Ashton Cross, Bedford Giant, Fantasia, and Marion are known for their taste, higher yield capacity, and better nature in changing weather.
Can You Eat Berries with Thorns?
Thorny berry bushes prevent predators from munching all your berries. While many wild berries can be found but are poisonous, some variants are considered edible. Prickly vines in your backyard can be used to grow a variety of edible sweet berries.
Raspberries, gooseberries, boysenberries, and blackberries have variants that are filled with thorns but considered edible. Before handling these thorny berries, make sure to have sufficient knowledge to handle berry thorns properly. If you take a few simple precautions, growing spiny plants will not be a problem for you.
Performing gardening tasks such as pruning thorny blackberries can be dangerous because of the potential for injury. These plants’ sharp thorns can pierce your skin, allowing pathogenic microorganisms access to your body.
- Microbes abound in gardens. Most are safe, but there are a few that are dangerous. One of the most important defenses against infection is having healthy, unbroken skin.
- Wearing gloves, a long-sleeved shirt, long pants, and shoes that cover your feet while pruning is the best way to protect your skin.
- You may also want to protect your eyes with safety glasses or goggles and your lungs with a dust mask or respirator, depending on the situation.