It’s been over 5 years now since I planted the furry-spined wine raspberry (Rubus phoenicolasius) in Mortal Tree. After hovering so long over the furry little husks that clutch the fruits like vicous claws, I finally got to taste one.
See this post for the difficulty I was facing with this rasp. The second year canes would just wilt and die shortly after bloom. Still no idea of the cause. While there is a bit of the same wilt occurring this year too, most of the canes are uneffected, and finally bearing a most unusually delicious fruit.
They should be called red-black-raspberries if describing the flavor. They are a bright, shiny red -about the shape and size of wild black raspberry (Rubus occidentalis) which carpet the sunny wild spots around here. And they taste like the black rasps too -although a lighter version of black-rasp flavor I must admit. There is none of the deep red-rasp flavor in these little guys.
When I say black rasp flavor, I’m refering to a light, fruity flavor. The deeper notes of black raspberry are what I consider the classic jam flavor. Red rasps (Rubus ideaus) -the cultivated red rasp you find in stores -are far more intense, with deep, sweet richness. Wine rasp flavor is pretty much wild black-rasp flavor without the purple-black color -just a little lighter.
Wild black raspberry wanders from sunny spot to sunny spot in Mortal Tree already. My thoughts on keeping the wine rasp? Definitely keeping it. I like its looks, and the cool little husks.
A few sources toute these husks as a bird deterrent. Not at all in my experience. The birds get at them far more readily than red or black raspberries.
I must also admit wine-rasps have a nice arching habit of their canes like black-rasps, so fare well up above a mess of companion plants better then red-rasps.
I’m just glad to finally get a fruit. We will see if this is a fluke, or if the ever improving soil, climate, and diversity in Mortal Tree are kicking in. I suspect the latter is the case.