Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Black Butte Is Heavyweight Among Blackberries / July 23, 1997 / News from the USDA Agricultural Research Service

Agricultural Research Service
U.S. Department of Agriculture
ARS News and Information Search News and Info Science for Kids Image Gallery Agricultural Research Magazine Publications and Newsletters News Archive News and Info home ARS News and Information
Latest news | Subscribe

Black Butte blackberries

Black Butte Is Heavyweight Among Blackberries

By Kathryn Barry Stelljes
July 23, 1997

CORVALLIS, Ore., July 23—The world's largest blackberry should be ready by next spring for planting by home gardeners, pick-your-own operations and commercial growers in parts of the West and South. Dubbed "Black Butte," the berry could start showing up in grocery store produce sections nationwide in the summer of 2000.

"Black Butte's fruit is huge and its uniform shape and nice color are visually appealing," said geneticist Chad E. Finn, who works for the Agricultural Research Service, chief research agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Finn developed the new berry in cooperation with the Oregon Agricultural Experiment Station here. Finn is at the ARS Horticultural Crops Research Lab, also in Corvallis.

Black Butte berries average 1 inch in diameter and 2 inches long. Individual berries weigh more than two-fifths of an ounce--almost twice the size of other varieties of fresh blackberries.

"Similar-size berries may grow on vines used for research or breeding, but this is the only named, publicly released cultivar with berries this large," said Finn.

The new variety has thorny, trailing vines. Almost all of the popular trailing blackberry varieties were developed at the ARS lab in Corvallis. Oregon is the leading producer of these berries.

Trailing berries are usually soft-skinned and best suited for processing into jams, juices and other berry products. But Black Butte has firmer fruit that's suited for the fresh market, said Finn.

Most of the country's fresh blackberries are produced on varieties developed in the eastern states. These "erect" or "semi-erect" types, grown throughout the East, Northwest and California, withstand cold winter temperatures better than trailing varieties. More important, the vines bear firm berries that can handle the rigors of shipping.

Black Butte's berries ripen in late June, four to six weeks earlier than the thornless, semi-erect varieties.

The new berry vines have been tested in Oregon, Arkansas, California, North Carolina, Washington, Canada, England and New Zealand, said Finn. Black Butte should grow well in areas where winter temperatures stay above 10 degrees Fahrenheit.

Blackberries are low in fat and sodium and a good source of fiber, potassium and vitamins A and C.

Scientific contact: Chad E. Finn, USDA-ARS Horticultural Crops Research Laboratory, 3420 NW Orchard Ave., Corvallis, OR 97330. Phone (541) 750-8760 or 750-8759, fax 750-8764,

Top | News Staff | Photo Staff

E-mail the web team Privacy and other policies Site map About ARS Information Staff Bottom menu

Home | News | Pubs | Magazine | Photos | Sci4Kids | Search
About ARS Info | Site map | Policies | E-mail us

Last Modified: 1/3/2002
Footer Content Back to Top of Page