I’m learning so much in my horticulture program, more than I could ever share on this blog, but I can share a bit. One thing I can share is info on cool plants I’m learning about! With that in mind, I’d like to start a regular series of plant profiles on this blog. Today we’ll be learning about the Boulder Raspberry.
The Boulder Raspberry (Rubus delicious), also known as Delicious Raspberry, is a medium sized shrub native to Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, and parts of Oklahoma. It grows to about 3-5 feet tall and about 4-6 feet wide, with an arching, spreading growth habit.
This plant has a lot of cool features that would suit a lot of homesteads and gardens very well. It produces an edible berry similar to traditional raspberries, though from what I’ve read I’m not sure how good the berry actually is. I’ve read that the flavor is excellent but the fruit is fuzzy and seedy with very little flesh. I’ve also read it can be tart or flavorless. Yet, I’ve also read that their flavor is supurb and that it definitely lives up to its Latin name deliciosus. So I guess the jury is out on that one. If nothing else, birds love the berries, so if you are looking to attract birds or maybe distract birds from your other crops, this might be a good choice.
What makes this variety of Rubus stand out over other varieties (such as common raspberries) is that it produces a fairly showy flower in late spring. The flower is white with five petals and yellow stamens in the center, about 3″ in diameter. It looks a lot like a wild rose, not surprising since it is in the rose family. The blooms cover the whole shrub, and then the shrub produces its red berries from July through September. Then the leaves turn yellow in the fall. The combination of spring blooms, fall color, and a bright red berry make this plant an excellent ornamental as well as a potential food producer.
Unlike other raspberries, the Boulder Raspberry has no thorns, and the shreddy tan bark can also provide some winter interest by adding texture to your landscape. What makes it extra cool is that it grows well in part shade, which is rare for a flowering and fruiting shrub. It will also do okay in full sun, and possibly even full shade.
Boulder Raspberry is also a low water user and isn’t super picky about soil, though it does prefer it to be well drained if it’s going to be getting a lot of water. In its native habitat it grows well in rocky soil on slopes. This shrub is fairly xeric, and hardy to Zone 4-5.
It’s a great permaculture plant and a descent ornamental. I’m going to be giving this one a try under our pine tree in the front yard, where we currently have some kind of weird barberry growing, I think.