Blackberry, a shrub of the rose family, closely related to the raspberry. It bears large numbers of sweet, edible fruits also called blackberries. Blackberries are eaten fresh as a dessert, and are also canned and made into pies, preserves, jams, jellies, and wines. Blackberry fruits are usually dark purple or black when ripe, although there is a variety with white fruit. The best kinds have large, thimble-shaped berries. Botanists call the blackberry an aggregate fruit, because it consists of a cluster of tiny, pulpy grains firmly attached to a fleshy core.

BlackberryBlackberry fruits are dark purple or black when ripe.

Many wild blackberry species have been used to develop the American cultivated blackberry. The wild blackcap (or thimble-berry), an erect plant, and the wild dewberry, a trailing plant, are close relatives of cultivated blackberries. All blackberries have thorny stems, or canes, that bear only leaves the first year, with flowers and fruit appearing during the second year. After this the cane dies.

Blackberries are grown from root cuttings. Young plants are grown in hills or hedgelike rows. They are pruned to keep tangled bramble patches from developing. Wild blackberries flourish in the eastern United States and in central and western Europe.

Blackberries belong to the family Rosaceae. The American blackberry is a hybrid of several species of the genus Rubus.