Dewberries is a name for a grouping of blackberries that, instead of growing on upright branches, grow on canes that will trail along the ground if not propped up (and get covered in dew in the morning, hence the name.) The bushes consequently need support such as a trellis, fence or staking.
They are better understood perhaps by one of their synonyms, “trailing blackberries.”
There are many species and varieties of blackberries included in the dewberry grouping; most are in North America.
This group includes Boysenberries, Loganberries, Lucretia Dewberries, Nectarberries, Olallieberries, and Youngberries
You may see them described in one place as being smaller than blackberries, and somewhere else as bigger than blackberries — it depends on what variety of dewberry.
- Aberdeen dewberry, Rubus depavitus;
- European dewberry, Rubus caesius (called just “Dewberry” in Europe, obviously);
- Lucretia dewberry: Rubus roribaccus;
- Mayes dewberry, Rubus almus;
- Northern dewberry, Rubus flagellaris;
- Pacific dewberry, Rubus ursinus (aka Rubus macropetalus);
- Southern dewberry, Rubus enslenii;
- Swamp dewberry, Rubus hispidus;
- Upland dewberry, Rubus invisus.
All of the above, except European Dewberry, are native to North America. The European Dewberry escaped from cultivation in North America and naturalized in areas such as Iowa and Michigan.
- have more upright bushes;
- new canes turn reddish where they exposed to direct sunlight;
- berries appear to have a waxy gloss on them;
- smaller and tarter than American dewberries.
Dewberries grow from seed or by spreading roots underground. In the wild, they grow to form thickets that are important for wildlife habitats.
The bushes are very prickly with lots of thorns. The blossoms will be white or a pale pink. The berries grow in clusters, ripening from green to red to blackish-purple.
Dewberries are hard to pick because they are so soft, you can easily squish them.
Blackberries in the dewberry grouping tend to ripen a bit earlier than other blackberries.
At the start of the 20th century, Cameron, North Carolina, US, called itself the “Dewberry capital of the world”. They grew Lucretia Dewberries. The industry in Cameron lasted until the end of the 1940s.