Skip to main content
ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Corvallis, Oregon » Horticultural Crops Production and Genetic Improvement Research Unit » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #395507

Research Project: Genetic Improvement of Blackberry, Red and Black Raspberry, Blueberry, and Strawberry

Location: Horticultural Crops Production and Genetic Improvement Research Unit

Title: Blackberry plant named ‘Thunderhead’

item Hardigan, Michael
item Finn, Chad

Submitted to: Patent Application
Publication Type: Other
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/17/2022
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Primocane-fruiting blackberry varieties are rapidly becoming an important facet of fresh market blackberry production due to their ability to produce fruit on first year canes, and their lower management inputs compared with floricane-fruiting trailing types. Because they are a fairly recent introduction, there are relatively few primocane-fruiting cultivar options available compared to a wide array of floricane-fruiting types, the available varieties tend to be lower yielding and less flavorful than the best floricane types, and have so far been developed through the University of Arkansas breeding program. 'Thunderhead' is the first primocane-fruiting blackberry to be released by the USDA, with yields approaching those of some commercial floricane-fruiting varieties, and excellent flavor for the fresh market. It is expected to perform well wherever primocane-fruiting blackberries are grown.

Technical Abstract: A new and distinct blackberry cultivar that originated from seed produced from a cross between the thorny primocane-fruiting maternal blackberry plant ORUS 4355-2 and the thornless primocane-fruiting paternal blackberry plant ‘Prime-Ark® Freedom’. ‘Thunderhead’ is the first primocane-fruiting blackberry variety released by the USDA-ARS breeding program in Oregon. This new blackberry cultivar can be distinguished by its exceptionally high plant vigor and yields of medium sized berries with high gloss, firmness, excellent flavor and fruit quality, and relatively small seed size. The berries are well suited for fresh eating, with good sweetness and gloss when picked firm, and low bitter notes. The new and distinct blackberry variety contains a genetic background derived from eastern U.S. germplasm and is expected to grow and is expected to perform well in most areas where primocane-fruiting blackberries are currently grown.