4 Boysenberry Varieties (The Most Common Varieties of Boysenberry)

A boysenberry bush with ripening boysenberries.

Boysenberry is a huge bramble fruit that’s sometimes mistaken for a blackberry variation (Rubus ursinus). With a sweet and tart flavor, the rich reddish-black fruit is great for freezing or canning, as well as in desserts like cobblers and pies like blackberry cobbler. It’s mostly cultivated in New Zealand and the United States, notably along the Pacific coast from southern California all the way up to Oregon’s southern tip.

Boysenberry’s actual ancestry is a mystery, although the most conclusive evidence points to Rudolph Boysen as the plant’s modern-day cultivator (Hence the name). Charles Rudolph Boysen created the first viable blackberry-raspberry hybrid back in the early 1900s.

A mature boysenberry is plump, firm, and reddish-purple all around. Flavor profile: The boysenberry tastes much like a mix between blackberry and raspberry, which isn’t surprising. It tastes like a cross between a blackberry and a raspberry, but with a bit more tang than either of those fruits.

Boysenberry is a wonderful source of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients aside from its sweet and slightly acidic flavor. While fresh and frozen boysenberries provide vitamins and minerals, they also contain a number of phytochemicals (naturally occurring compounds) that may help protect against diseases, such as cancer and heart disease, as well as improve overall health and lengthen one’s lifespan when consumed year-round. Antioxidant-rich New Zealand boysenberries may help fend off or postpone the onset of serious degenerative disorders.

The only problem with Boysenberries is that they don’t keep well, so you might not find them as easily in marts (as other fruits), especially among fresh fruits, like most other kinds of berries. That’s one of the reasons, so many people try to plant them and enjoy the fruit from a plant in their own backyard (or front yard).

When it comes to boysenberry varieties, most of them can be divided into two classes: Thorny Boysenberries and thornless Boysenberries.

Thorny Boysenberries (Or Just Boysenberries)

Unless otherwise specified as “thornless,” all Boysenberries are technically thorny. Boysenberries have one major drawback: the fruit’s runners are often covered with thorns, making harvesting the fruit hazardous or at the very least uncomfortable.

Even though their USDA hardiness zones are the same, thorny plants are said to be more cold-tolerant than thornless ones. However, despite its popular name of boysenberry being used, the plant’s intricate hybridization has led to plenty of complications when naming it. However, the situation is complicated. Boysenberries have the same kind of spikes as their raspberry, blackberry, and loganberry relatives, making them the “original” form of the berry.

There is speculation that the thorny, trailing canes of what became known as “boysenberries” developed from a hybrid between the Loganberry and the Dewberry (Rubus x loganobaccus) (Rubus ursinus). It’s hard to resist the allure of the black, plump, sweet, juicy fruit. A lengthy, moderate growth season is ideal for boysenberries, which thrive in damp soil that has been amended with lots of decomposed organic matter. In order to prevent the growth of dense thickets, boysenberries’ trailing runners must be tied to a sturdy support structure.

Thornless Boysenberries

While the Thornless boysenberry does feature thorns, they are smaller and fewer in quantity compared to the Thorny version. Thornless boysenberries, while not as hardy as their prickly cousins, should be able to survive a winter in USDA Zone 6 if given proper care.

There are thornless canes that stretch up to 2 meters wide on the thornless boysenberry. This shrub has little white blossoms in early spring, and in late summer, luscious blackberries taste like fruit. Dark maroon berries with a sweet-tart flavor are good in jams and jellies, wine, preserves, and as fresh food. They are huge, nearly seedless berries with a sweet-tart flavor. At maturity, thornless boysenberry canes yield 4-6 quarts. Trailing canes can reach a height of 4-6 feet. In order to harvest boysenberries, wait until they start to fall off the vine at the slightest provocation. They were created in California and are excellent for fresh consumption, freezing, jams, preserves, pastries, and the production of juice, syrup, and wine.

Berries do not keep well in the refrigerator, so use them up within a couple of days of gathering them. Any berries that haven’t been consumed right away should be frozen.

Folate and thiamine are both found in abundance in this fruit. Manganese, potassium, copper, calcium, iron, phosphorus, and magnesium are also included in this mixture.

Sylvanberries

By 1970, when the Department of Agriculture developed it at Silvan in Victoria, this fruit had already been developed, it had already been developed. Sylvanberry plants, which belong to the blackberry genus, share a number of characteristics with other blackberry cultivars. Perennials that live for 15 to 20 years are hardy and cold tolerant, easy to cultivate, and prolific spreaders; they are excellent choices for landscaping. Silvanberry fruit plants should be contained in a pot or planter box with a trellis or against a fence to control their exuberant expansion, as you would with any blackberry variety. Thorny vines produce enormous, dark-red, glossy blackberries strong in vitamin C, known as silvanberry fruit.

You may eat the fruit straight from the tree, make jam and preserves from it, and use it in pies, cakes, and blended beverages.

Silvanberries are easy to cultivate, strong, and self-fertile, thanks to subterranean runner systems.

If you have a little garden, a few plants can provide plenty of fruit for you, and as they expand, you’ll soon have them in abundance. Surplus fruit from the summer can be frozen and utilized as needed in the winter.

Newberry

In collaboration with the Oregon State University Agricultural Experiment Station in Corvallis, OR, the USDA-ARS breeding program introduced ‘Newberry,’ a new trailing blackberry cultivar (Rubus subg. Rubus Watson). Boysenberry’s look and color are comparable to ‘Newberry’s,’ a strong plant that generates large quantities of good-quality fruit with high yields.

While boysenberries are smaller and tastier, Newberries tend to be sweeter and easier to ship due to their lower risk of spilling juice while in transit.

Unlike its deep purple forebear, the Ruby Boysen is a stunning shade of red, earning them the moniker “Ruby Boysen.”

Conclusion

There are various reasons why Boysenberries have relatively fewer varieties than most other berries you might come across. One major reason is their age. They have been around for a lot less long than most other berries and haven’t crossed international barriers as vigorously as others. Another reason is that they themselves are hybrids, and further hybridization might weaken the propagation even further, leaving you with a novelty that cannot be commercialized. Another reason that might be behind this berry’s problematic lack of variety is that it’s difficult to keep, and if its hybrids inherit the same trait, it will leave the exercise moot.

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