Juicy and sweet with tart overtones, fresh raspberries are one of summer's joys. A member of the rose family, raspberries' bushes are actually perennial vines that grow on long, thorny canes. While garden-grown raspberries taste wonderful, wild raspberries often have a deeper, more intense flavor. These wild raspberries come in many colors, including the common red, black, pink, golden and white.
Wild White Raspberries in the United States
White raspberries, which are often called green raspberries, are native to Brazil and are concentrated in the moist, humid soil on the outer edges of the cloud forest in the south part of the country. These plants are generally not cultivated, but are often sought out in the wild because of their flavor.
In 1941, however, botanist William Mitchell discovered a variety of wild white raspberry in Florida. Because he found it near a patch of sand blackberries, he assumed that it was an albino strain of that plant. He named it R. cuneifolius
forma albifructus. Botanists discovered wild "albino blackberries" in other areas of Florida as well. Now experts have identified wild white raspberries in many regions throughout the United States.
White raspberries have a different taste than many of the darker varieties. They tend to be sweeter and contain little to no acidity. Because of their delicate taste, cooks tend to make the most of their flavor by using them in sorbets, juice, jelly and other dishes that will not overpower them.
Like the more common red raspberry, wild white raspberries can be used for medicinal purposes. Teas and juices made from the leaves, roots, and berries of the plant are used to combat diarrhea, upset stomach and mouth ulcers.
Growing Wild White Raspberries
While white raspberries are usually not cultivated, you can grow them in your garden by following a few simple guidelines. Identify the location of wild white raspberry bushes in the summer and fall; tag them in some way if possible. The following spring, dig up tender new plants and soak them overnight in a solution of vitamin B1 rooting complex. In a sunny location, dig a hole one foot deep and place the raspberry in the hole along with some fertilizer and compost, if available. Cover the roots with dirt, water thoroughly and mulch around the stem to keep the plant moist. Feed raspberries with a 4-20-20 fertilizer rich in nitrogen. As the plants grow, provide them with a trellis or other sturdy object to climb. Prune and thin canes at the end of the growing season.