Submitted to: Handbook of Plant Breeding
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: March 1, 2010
Publication Date: March 1, 2012
Citation: Finn, C.E., Clark, J.R. 2012. Blackberry. In: Badenes, M.L. and Byrne, D.H., editors. Handbook of Plant Breeding: Volume 8: Fruit breeding. Springer, New York. p. 151-190.
Blackberries are in Rosaceae family, the Rubus genus and subgenus (formerly Eubatus).Commercially cultivars are a multispecies complex and generally do not have a species epitaph. The primary progenitor species for the cultivated blackberries are all perennial plants with biennial canes. In these species, vegetative canes called primocanes are produced the first year and after a dormant period they are called floricanes. The floricanes flower, fruit, and die while new vegetative primocanes are growing. Blackberries can be grown throughout much of the temperate regions in the world. They do best when grown on well-drained, fertile soils with adequate moisture, in regions with moderate or mild winters and moderate summertime conditions. Although blackberries are a minor crop among fruits, there have been hundreds of cultivars named ranging from wild selections to those developed from multiple cycles of selection. Initially, a germplasm pool was assembled that lead to cultivars that were commercially viable and that later had outstanding traits. Then, as sources of thornlessness were identified, breeders incorporated them into this germplasm, and eventually high quality cultivars were developed. A primary focus of all programs is fruit quality for promoting consumption. Other objectives are disease and pest resistance, primocane fruiting, productivity, yield, plant architecture and thornlessness. The use of molecular and other techniques in blackberry has been very limited. The use of simple sequence repeat markers (SSR) was reported for assessing genetic similarity and fingerprinting.