Berries grow in an astonishing array of varieties. They are a good choice for home gardens because they are simple to grow, but highly perishable and expensive to purchase in the store. Berries are also nutritious. Blueberries for example, are known to treat bladder infections and have more cancer-fighting antioxidants than any other fruit or vegetable, according to "Organic Gardening" magazine.
The leaves of different berry types have notable differences. Strawberries have glossy, leaves about 2 inches wide and 2 inches long. The leaves have pretty, scalloped edges. Bramble fruits, such as raspberries and blackberries have deeply textured leaves, ranging in size from 2 to 4 inches wide. The leaves have toothed edges and are light to deep green in color. Blueberry leaves are very glossy, with smooth edges. Gooseberry, elderberry and currant leaves are similar to raspberry and blackberry leaves. Some varieties may have deeply cut leaves, resembling a maple leaf.
Bramble and currant-type berries produce leaves that are light-green when young and darker green when mature. These leaves may develop brown patches from lack of water or sun scald. Strawberries produce dark-green leaves. Blueberry leaves are a deep green, tinged with blue. In the fall, they turn deep red.
All berry plants begin producing leaves in mid to-late spring. The leaves of the strawberry plant emerge on tender green stems. Bramble and currant-type berries produce leaves on canes, including the previous year's wood, as well as new growth. Old wood is a darker brown or gray, whereas new wood is green or light brown.
Growth and Form
Bramble berries and currant-type berries produce leaves on canes. These canes may stand erect or trail on the ground and reach 4 to 6 feet high. Raspberries, gooseberries, currants and elderberries may produce dense hedge-like plantings. Strawberry leaves form in clusters on green stems, close to the ground. They spread through runners, quickly forming a wide strawberry patch. Blueberry leaves form on dense, upright branches. Strawberries and blueberries have no thorns. Other berries may have thorns, depending on the variety.
Gooseberries, elderberries and currants produce leaves and fruit most predictably in cool, moist climates such as the northern and coastal areas of the United States. Blackberries and rabbiteye or southern highbush blueberry varieties are less cold hardy than most berries. They grow well in the southern United States. Raspberries and strawberries are the most adaptable of all berries. They grow throughout much of the United States, although raspberries don't tolerate very hot, dry conditions.
- University of Wisconsin Learning Store: Growing Raspberries in Wisconsin
- Ohio State University Extension Fact Sheet: Growing Blueberries in the Home Garden
- University of Wisconsin Learning Store: Growing Currants, Gooseberries and Elderberries in Wisconsin
- Purdue University Department of Horticulture Cooperative Extension: Growing Strawberries
- Organic Gardening: Blueberries