Velma Black Raspberry
The Velma Black Raspberry was spotted growing in the south-facing front yard in a mature Edmonton neighbourhood. Named after the homeowner who has been growing it for more than three decades, Velma is a tough plant.
Black Raspberry is not a raspberry, a blackberry, or a cross between the two, but a separate species native to the East Coast of North America. Black Raspberry is similar in appearance and growth habits to blackberry, and I initially misidentified the plant as such. Upon further reading, I was able to identify the plant as a Rubus occidentalis. Like a blackberry, the plant produces long thorn-covered canes that, when left on their own, touch the ground, root, and bramble.
Once established, Velma is a vigorous grower that can produce 8 to 12-foot-long canes in a single year. Fruit is born on new wood.
Rubus occidentalis. var Velma
- Hardiness: USDA Zone 3
- Size at Maturity: 12 feet tall and wide
- Edible (Fruiting on New Wood)
- Locally Sourced Cuttings
Growing Black Raspberries
For best results, grow black raspberries against a supporting structure and remove all but three to five healthy, young canes each spring. Strong shoots will grow branches with an abundance of sweet, tart, black fruit.