If you want to know the difference between a bramble and a blackberry, you’ll find various definitions online:
- A bramble is a blackberry and vice versa.
- Blackberry is the fruit and bramble the bush.
- Bramble is wild (Rubus vulgaris) and blackberry (Rubus fruiticosus) is cultivated.
- Bramble is the northern name and blackberry the southern.
- A bramble is any rough, tangled, prickly shrub, usually in the genus Rubus.
- Some people combine the two to specify the type of fruit: blackberry bramble, raspberry bramble, loganberry bramble.
The answers seem plausible to a greater or lesser degree, and geography will influence what sounds right to you. As a northern British speaker, I use them like this:
- I picked and ate a wild blackberry (= the fruit; could also be a cultivated berry)
- I tripped over a bramble (= a long, prickly cane)
- The rabbit hid in a blackberry bush (= the whole plant)
I’d use bramble as a generic folk name for the whole plant if I wanted an earthy, rural term or did not need to specify the type of fruit.
There are over 330 bramble species in the UK, some highly localised. These plants were growing on moorland and had unusually bright red autumn foliage that caught the sunlight beautifully.
Foragers will be aware that some wild blackberry bushes produce larger, sweeter fruit than others. The botanical name for the cultivated variety of blackberries (Rubus fruiticosus) should be the most reliable indication of sweetness, but I’ve sometimes found wild berries as sweet as any – and being wild gave their sweetness extra pleasure.
Shared for Cee’s FOTD challenge.
46 Replies to “Bramble or Blackberry: Would a Fruit by Any Name Taste as Sweet?”
……………… by any other name it’s a delicious fruit whether eaten with cereal, yogurt or in the nation’s favourite apple and blackberry crumble!
It certainly is.
Yes, I’ll go along with all that. We have some fine fruits around here, as well as some that remain obdurately small and hard whatever the weather – and all within a few yards of each other. But it’s all over now till next year.
I’ve been watching some type of bramble that flowers but doesn’t set fruit, but it doesn’t hold them back as they’re great spreaders.
Blackberry is the fruit and the plant is bramble. The biggest, sweetest blackberries I ever found were growing close to a nuclear research facility. 😀
You would hope that the deadly stuff is so tightly controlled it can’t leak out into the blackberries!
I did wonder if they would gli in the dark. 😉
This is an interesting exploration of common names and how confusing they can be.
There’s one name that always takes me by surprise when I hear it being applied more widely than I am used to in the southern states of America – buttercup, I think.
As a child I used “bramble” for the fruit and the bush, but moved south and had this usage mocked out of me. This year the fruits ripened weeks later than last year, because of the poor summer. Recently, round here, they have been cursed by a white fungus-like growth, which sucks the life from the fruit but leaves it on the vine, shrivelled.
You don’t need to move far to become seemingly unintelligible. I was roundly teased for my accent/vocabulary just an hour away in Liverpool as a student. Asking for an ice lolly drew a blank stare until they worked out I meant lolly ice.
Across the pond, in Maine, I have never heard bramble used to describe the berry, only the prickly canes. Fun to read about the different ways words are used.
We do use it in bramble jelly and you sometimes see traditional bramble jam.
I echo Laurie… brambles here can be wild roses, raspberry, blackberry or dewberry, basically anything with thorns that can mess you up!
We use briar for wild roses, but I don’t think I’ve heard bramble. Would you use that too?
Yes, I’d say the two are interchangeable. The English language is so varied from place to place, always interesting!
Me too – and we have plenty of both!
I enjoyed this ramble about bramble.
Lovely photos, Susan. 🌞
This is so interesting! I love the word “bramble,” but I don’t know that I could say why. I didn’t know that it applied to so many things in so many places. The photos are beautiful; I didn’t know brambles were that photogenic. But let’s go back to that first comment — there’s an apple and blackberry tart? That sounds SO good! What a lovely autumn post!
I prefer wimberry pie, though perhaps I should not admit that here.
I take it that people have strong feelings about such things!
More that it wouldn’t be polite to the blackberries.
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