Raspberry plants belong to the rose family. Appreciated for their flavorful fruit, these plants can thrive as far south as the equator and as far north as the Arctic. Learning about the parts of a raspberry bramble can help garden enthusiasts cultivate healthy plants.
Raspberry plants are comprised of several parts: roots, canes, thorns, leaves and fruit (called "drupelets"). There are more than 200 types of raspberry plants, and they can produce one or two crops a year depending on the variety.
Raspberry plant roots thrive in salt-free soils that possess a light-to-medium consistency and a neutral pH. Because roots are sensitive to root rot, well-drained planting sites or raised beds are best to encourage healthy root growth. Roots crown beneath the surface to provide a support system for the raspberry plant.
Perennial shoots — called canes — extend from the crown of a raspberry plant. Canes can be tall, thick, spiny, trailing or erect, depending on the raspberry variety. Canes are classified as “primocanes” (first-year growth) or “floricanes” (second-year canes that will produce fruit). Canes are often supported with a trellis system.
Raspberry canes can be flecked with fine thorns. They are generally smaller and more flexible than other bramble types (such as blackberries). Use caution or gloves when picking raspberries to protect fingers.
Serrated, veined leaves grow on raspberry stems. Each compound displays as many as five light-green leaflets, with the middle leaflet growing the largest. Studying raspberry plant leaves can reveal signs of insect infestation (such as bronzing and wilting).
According to the University of Maine, a healthy, established raspberry plant can yield drupelets (red, yellow, black, orange or purple fruit) for as long as 20 years. A single row of raspberry bushes can produce more than sixty pints of the seedy, fleshy and hollow fruit. Raspberries are rich in vitamin C, fiber and anti-oxidants.