Raspberry is hardy to USDA zones 2-7. It is a shrub that can grow up to 5 feet tall and 6 feet wide. Raspberries should be grown in full sunlight and spaced at least 3 feet apart. They should not be planted where eggplants, potatoes, tomatoes, or strawberries were previously grown because root diseases might be present in the location (2). Raspberries are perennial plants with biennial canes or stems.The canes or suckers are used for propagation. They grow to their full height in the first year, and then they fruit during the second year. After the second year, the canes die.
Red raspberries should be planted in early spring. Its cane should be placed into a hole that is deep and wide enough to accommodate for the roots. The roots should then be covered by soil and watered. After the cane is planted, it should be cut down to 8-10 inches in height. A trellis can be added at the time of planting to help support the plant (1). Flowers should be removed during the first summer to promote growth. Mulch should be added throughout the growing season in order to keep moisture levels up and prevent weeds from growing near the raspberries. Raspberries should be given an inch of water every week. The biennial canes that have already fruited should be pruned, and canes that grow sideways should be cut off. The fruit should be harvested every 3-4 days when they are dry and can be easily plucked off when they are ripe (2).
Raspberries are a good source of fiber and Vitamin C (1). The Chippewa and Omaha tribes had used the plants’ leaves to brew a tea that can treat diarrhea. The tea can also treat menstrual cramping and has been known for many years for its effect in easing the childbirth process. raspberries’ leaves and roots can be used to heal mouth sores, tonsillitis, and burns (3). Herbalists use raspberries to make a gargle for sore throats. They also use the fruit to clean out wounds (4). Raspberry juice mixed with honey can be consumed to bring down a fever. Raspberry syrup is thought to be a good remedy for heart disease (5). In Tibet, raspberries are used to treat irritability, exhaustion, and infections (6). Studies show that raspberries contain chemical compounds that fight against cancer causing cells (7). The fruit is used in decongestant face-masks as a remedy for reddened skin (5).
Preserves can be made from raspberries (1). They can be eaten raw or added to pies, candies, or dairy products for flavor (3). Raspberries are used in the commercial industry in the production of juices, soft drinks, teas, and liqueurs. Many of the Native American tribes, such as the Bella Coola and Tanana Indians, used the berries to make jams and fruits (4). Young shoots can be eaten straight from harvest or cooked like asparagus.
Significance to Cultural Communities
Raspberries are native to Europe and America. There is a Greek myth about why the fruit have a red color. It was said that a nymph named Ida was gathering white raspberries for Zeus, and she pricked her finger in the process. Her blood changed the color of the fruit, and that is why raspberries are red. In France, there is an alcoholic drink made by fermenting raspberries, called Framboise. The Thompson Indians made cakes from dried and steamed raspberries. The Tanana and Inupiat Inuits made pudding from the fruit (4). Raspberries can be used to dye clothing. A light brown colored paper can be created by using fibers from raspberry stems (5). Ancient Romans and Greeks used raspberries to dye their hair so that they would look more youthful. In India, raspberries are used in Ayurvedic medicine. The leaves and other herbs are combined to make a decoction, called kasaya. The decoction is said to increase clarity, stiffening of the mouth, and produces a feeling of heaviness. In China, raspberries are eaten to promote healthy livers and kidneys. The aboriginal tribes of Australia use a raspberry decoction to treat morning sickness, menstrual pain, and the flu (7).
- "Raspberries." The Old Farmer's Almanac. Yankee Publishing Inc., n.d. Web. 14 Oct. 2014. <http://www.almanac.com/plant/raspberries>.
- Sullivan, J. A., and T. T. Clarke. "Raspberries and Blackberries for Home Gardens." Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs. Queen's Printer for Ontario, Nov. 2013. Web. 14 Oct. 2014. <http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/crops/facts/99-033.htm>.
- Favorite, Jammie. "American Red Raspberry." United States Department of Agriculture. N.p., 9 June 2003. Web. 14 Oct. 2014. <http://plants.usda.gov/plantguide/pdf/cs_ruid.pdf>.
- Eland, Sue C. "Rubus idaeus." Plant Biographies. N.p., 2008. Web. 20 Oct. 2014. < http://www.plantlives.com/docs/R/Rubus_idaeus.pdf>.
- "Rubus Idaeus." Plants for a Future. Plants for a Future, n.d. Web. 24 Oct. 2014. <http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Rubus+idaeus>.
- Corless, Marisa. "Red Raspberry." Herbal Legacy. Christopher Publications, n.d. Web. 12 Nov. 2014. <http://www.herballegacy.com/Corless_History.html>.
- "Rubus Pharmacology: Antiquity to the Present." HortScience 45.11 (2010): 1587-591. Web. 13 Nov. 2014. <http://www.ars.usda.gov/SP2UserFiles/person/2674/hummer%20rubus%20pharmacology.pdf>.