June – Blackberries & Black Raspberry


Blackberry CC: Andrew Hill

I am a berry that resembles a raspberry but am dark purple/black. I taste great in desserts, mixed with yogurt or just eaten freshly picked. I am native to Ontario and often grow in small colonies. Who am I? Blackberries,  you might guess – ahhh but not so fast!!! Maybe it’s a black raspberry!?

The answer is not as simple as you may have originally thought. But we can help you solve the dilemma!

The truth is that there are a couple of black berry producing plants that are native to Ontario. At Not So Hollow Farm we carry four different varieties. The common blackberry (rubus allegheniensis), the smooth blackberry (rubus Canadensis), the northern dewberry (rubus flagellaris) and black raspberry (rubus occidentalis). But once you know a few tricks you will be able to tell them apart.

Blackberry compare (3)

Black Raspberry (Left) Lighter underside with Common Blackberry (right) less distinct

Blackberry compare (2)

Black Raspberry (L) Common Blackberry (R)

  • Blackberry fruit is much shinier than black raspberry


    Black Raspberry Top – Blackberry Bottom

  • The underside of leaves is a tell tale sign (much lighter on black raspberry compared to the top)
  • The black raspberry has deep, hollow indentation when picked while the stem leaves a white, less hollow appearance on the blackberry

Common blackberry vs. smooth blackberry

  • Common displays many thorns/prickles on stems where smooth blackberry has very few

Common blackberry vs. northern dewberry

  • dewberry fruit is larger more reddish purple when ripe than dark purple/black of blackberries
  • the dewberry is low growing as opposed to the taller blackberry

Check out this clip Blackberry vs. Dewberry

Hopefully that clears up the identification confusion! The great news is that blackberries are extremely high in anti-oxidants. Eating these berries becomes not only a delicious treat but ample benefits for your health. At Not So Hollow Farm we carry all four varieties. Come out and have a look!