These berries are often called brambles because of their growth habit (Ourecky 1975). Their taxonomy is extremely complex and the two names used here are simply convenient; some bramble students use the subgeneric names Idaeoatus (raspberries) and Eubatus (blackberries) instead of specific names, given the ease with which species in each group hybridize. Both subgenera are temperate and circumpolar.
The raspberries were first cultivated in Europe in the 1500s, but the earliest named cultivars only appeared in the 1800s in both Europe and North America (Ourecky 1975; Jennings 1995). By this time both European and North American 'species' were being cultivated, hybridized, and selected. The blackberries appear to have been cultivated in Europe only a few years before they were cultivated in North America; a European cultivar was introduced into North America in 1850. Soon thereafter, it 'escaped' and hybridized with American blackberries, resulting in new variation that was selected locally. Although the brambles are not among the most important world fruit crops, they are locally important in many parts of the northern hemisphere and a Latin American species (R. glaucus Benth.) has recently started to be cultivated and selected.
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