Pacific Blackberry is a native food and deciduous trailing vine with small, tasty blackberries.
The berries are widely held to be superior in taste to the more common non-native Himalayan/Evergreen blackberries, although are smaller in size and produce less fruit. Their valuable characteristics have been used in the breeding of various commercial berries, including the loganberry.
The berries can be eaten raw, cooked into preserves or compotes, baked into pies and more! The berries are rich in antioxidants and are a good source of potassium, phosphorus, iron, and calcium. Interestingly, their seeds even have Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids. Leaves and stems are also valuable: the young shoots can be eaten raw or steamed in early spring. Blackberry leaves can be used to make a medicinal tea.
***The Pacific Blackberry is mostly dioecious, meaning male and female parts are generally on different plants. Hence it is recommended to purchase at least one male plant for every 10 female plants.
The Pacific Blackberry is an excellent choice for the native, ornamental garden. The flowers are small and delicate but very fragrant. Their leaves come in threes, serrated and dark green with delicate rose like single flowers. The new berries are a scarlet red that ripen to black. The Pacific Blackberry is an excellent understory plant and will grow well with many of the other species in our catalogue. Consider growing it under taller shrubs like the Serviceberry or underneath a tree like the Pacific Crab Apple.
Environment and Culture
The Pacific Blackberry is common throughout the Pacific Northwest but is especially prevalent in recently disturbed forests. The berries were an important food source to the Native Americans who often dried the berries to preserve them. The berries are very popular with many species of birds, deer and rabbits like to eat the tender shoots in spring.
Harvest, Care, and Preparation
Harvest the berries one at a time as they ripen from late summer through the fall. The plants are not difficult to manage but require water in the summer to get the best berries. The Pacific Blackberry is dioecious and only the female plants bear fruit. Their spikes are considerably smaller and softer than the large invasive blackberries, but they are still prickly so gloves are recommended when working with this plant. The fruit is versatile and tastes excellent whether fresh, dried or frozen. Pick the young, tender shoots in early spring and steam them or add to soups like a vegetable.
Native Range: CA, OR, WA, ID, BC
USDA zones: 5-10
Ease of Care: Very Easy
Deer Resistance: High
Light Requirements: Full Sun-Part Shade
Soil Type: Any
Water Requirements: Drought hardy, but needs regular watering to produce the best berries.
Pollination: Needs male and female - it's dioecious and only the female plants bear fruit.
Bearing Age: 2 years
Size at Maturity: 2-5 feet high and up to 6 feet wide.