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Definition: raspberry from Philip's Encyclopedia

Fruit grown in Europe, North America, and Asia. The black, purple, or red fruit is eaten fresh or preserved. Canes, rising from perennial roots, bear fruit the second year. Family Rosaceae; species Rubus idaeus.


Popular as a wild fruit from ancient times, raspberries (Rubus sp.) have been cultivated since the early 17th century. The fruits grow on usually thorny bushes, although thornless varieties also exist. There are more than 200 varieties of raspberry in Asia, where the fruit is thought to have originated.

Summary Article: RASPBERRY
from Cambridge World History of Food

(see also BERRIES)

A number of shrublike, prickly plants of the genus Rubus have fruits that we call raspberries. Among them are R. strigosus (= R. leucodermis), which is a purple and black berry (the “black-cap”) native to eastern North America, and R. idaeus, which is native to Europe. The latter species bears red raspberries, and most varieties cultivated today are a cross between the two. Pliny the Elder mentioned raspberries as a wild fruit, and they were probably not cultivated much before the seventeenth century. The apothecary and botanist John Parkinson - in his 1629 Paradisi in sole paradisus terrestris - wrote of red, white, and thornless varieties, indicating that some were under cultivation at that point.

The raspberry has a range that extends from the polar regions down through temperate North America, Asia, and Europe. One berry appears like a group of tiny berries lumped together. In addition to flavoring desserts and ice cream, raspberries are turned into wine, jams, and jellies, and the fruit is also used to flavor certain liqueurs. In the past, raspberries were among the berries gathered regularly and ritually by the Native Americans. Raspberries provide a good amount of vitamin C.

Common names and synonyms: American red raspberry, black-cap, black raspberry, purple raspberry, thimbleberry.

© Cambridge University Press 2000

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