What Berries Look Like Blackberries?
Blackberries (Rubus spp.), hardy in United States Department of Agriculture zones 5 to 9, have a distinct, but not unique appearance. Berries that look like blackberries come in a variety of shapes, colors and sizes, but they all mimic the blackberry’s bumpy exterior.
What Do Blackberries Look Like?
Scientifically, blackberries are an aggregate fruit that develops from many ovaries in a single flower. Practically, this means the small, round fruit resembles a bunch of much smaller balls called drupelets clustered around a solid core.
The perennial bramble grows as canes that can quickly become a thorny mess of stems if left to grow wild. As blackberries mature, their color changes from green to red to purple before turning black, the signal that they’re fully ripe. The sweet, slightly tart berries can be eaten plain or added to jams and baked goods.
Blackberries Nutritional Value
One cup of blackberries contains 60 calories, 8 grams of dietary fiber (29% of the recommended daily amount) and generous amounts of vitamins C, K and E. The berries are packed with phytochemicals, which are phenolic compounds that might prevent inflammatory diseases, some cancers and age-related cognitive issues.
The fruit’s deep purple color comes from anthocyanins and is slightly lighter or darker depending on the soil pH.
How to Tell the Difference Between a Blackberry and a Raspberry
The main difference between a blackberry and a raspberry (Rubus spp.) is not the color. Raspberries can be red or black, and blackberries are red before they ripen.
The sure way to determine if the fruit is a blackberry or a raspberry is to pick one. If the spongy white center, called a torus, remains in the berry, it’s a blackberry. If the torus remains on the stem and the fruit is hollow, it’s a raspberry.
Additionally, if you put a raspberry and a blackberry side by side, you’ll notice that the raspberry is more rounded than the blackberry.
Raspberries tend to ripen slightly earlier than blackberries, though both are generally ripe in mid-summer.
Canes and Thorns
The canes the berries grow on are similar, but have slight differences on close inspection. Blackberry canes are taller, are purplish-red and have straight thorns. Black raspberries have hooked thorns and whitish canes. Red raspberries have few or no thorns.
The inside of a blackberry and raspberry hold the best clue as to which is which. In blackberries, the white center, called the torus remains in the berry, while in raspberries, it stays on the stem so that the fruit itself is hollow.
Berries That Look Like Blackberries
Let's take a look at a few more berries that looks like blackberries.
Southern dewberries (Rubus trivialis), a blackberry look-alike, ripen in the spring. The perennial with showy white blossoms, hardy in zones 4a to 9b, prefers wet areas like bogs and swamps. The sweet berries are larger than blackberries and can be eaten raw or cooked.
Thimbleberries (Rubus parviflorus), hardy in zones 3 to 10, get their name from their thimble-like shape. The berries are edible, but the large amount of seeds in the fruit make them unappetizing to humans—but squirrels, chipmunks and birds feast on them. Thimbleberries ripen in the fall and the canes don’t have thorns.
Hardy in zones 5 to 8, salmonberries (Rubus spectabilis) are native to the Pacific Northwest. The edible yellow-orange berries ripen from May to late July, have a mushy texture and are less flavorful than other similar berries. Hummingbirds are attracted to the plant’s large pink or red flowers.
The red or black fruit of the American mulberry (Morus rubra), hardy in zones 4a to 9b, ripen in late spring and summer. This blackberry look-alike has slightly elongated fruit that grows on trees that reach more than 40 feet tall.
White mulberries (Morus alba) (zones 4 to 8) derive their name from the color of the flowers, not the fruit. The fruit can be white, black, pink or purple. Many experts consider that black mulberries (Morus nigra), hardy in zones 5 through 10, are the best tasting.
Meg Jernigan is a lifelong gardener who grew up on a farm in upstate New york. Her appreciation of the art ranges from the simple joys of a backyard garden to the benefits of xeriscaping. Jernigan's writing on gardening, home improvement and travel appears both online and in print.