A Berry Good Education

Like most places, life in these Louisiana wetlands is seasonal, often dictating our days, shaping our schedules, and determining what we will do with our time.  Down here in bayou country, the March winds have ushered out the last chilly days of winter and have left behind the anticipation of the mild spring days of April, the blooming of the Louisiana wild iris, and the ripening of the Southern Dewberries.

First berries, April 2013

First berries, April 2013

It’s those tart, tangy berries that lured me out on a recent morning, bright and early, to pick the first luscious, dark purple treasures of the season.  While picking, my thoughts (as usual) centered around what I wanted to relate to you about this seasonal, cultural event that’s probably as old as the southern dewberry vine themselves. This day was no different, as I picked, lost in thought.

While I’m not as old as these wild vines, this is the first time I had to consider my age while preparing for the picking.  Obviously I would wear long sleeves and pants, my trusty old shrimp boots, and I would carry a big stick with which to beat the bushes. Because of the festering wounds I suffered last year from embedded thorns, I was forced to add a new fashion element to my berry-picking wardrobe.

Southern Dewberries and Fashion Hand Protection

Southern Dewberries and Fashion Hand Protection

And, because I like to feel the plumpness and ripeness of the berries as I pick them, it’s no small thing for me to submit to wearing gloves.  Along with the wisdom of years comes the thinning of the skin, but I’ve come to see the wearing gloves as a small price to pay so that I might continue this tradition, unhindered.

The good I am taking away from this compromise  is remembering my dear mother, who first taught me to pick dewberries and took us kids every year that she could find a patch from which to pick.  I was reminded of her quiet ways, of her generosity to neighbors, even when she was stricken with crippling arthritis.  She would bake a pie and walk it over to an ailing or bereaved neighbor, with no thought for the extra pain the extra effort caused her.

As I poked my way around the berry thicket, I went over again in my mind the differences between dewberries and blackberries and why anyone should care anyway.  So, with that comes the confession that I am somewhat obsessive-compulsive about some things.  For example, it really bothered me when I first came here that the bayou people called these berries blackberries.

How could I, from the city, know better than these earthy folks that these beauties were most certainly dewberries?  A hint of haughtiness came with that knowledge, but slowly, I humbled myself and put away my city-folk knowledge and accepted that when in bayou country, you’d best do as bayou folks do.  I’ve now been in bayou country and doing like bayou folks for 35  years.

However, since I’ve crossed over into the non-child-bearing, often misunderstood, years of womanhood, I’ve begun looking at life differently.  Like the changing of the seasons, I’ve undergone my own personal changing of seasons.  It’s less about obsessive-compulsiveness now and more about sharing my knowledge and wisdom gently, not being ashamed to call a spade a spade or a dewberry a dewberry.

Southern Dewberries

So, this morning, with each thump of a berry in the bucket, I determined that I would, for the last and final time, put down in writing why these are dewberries and not blackberries.  And it’s not about being right, it’s about not forgetting where I’ve come from and not forgetting the heritage my mother imparted to me while we picked buckets full of dewberries each spring and turned them into delectable things for our family.  And I do have a little credibility, because it pays me as a tour guide to know the local plants.  Furthermore, one of my favorite books, Wildflowers of Louisiana and Adjoining States by Clair A. Brown (out of print), gives an apt description, with photos, of the Southern Dewberry.

Botanically speaking, Rubus trivialis, is the name given to this humble, fruit-bearing vine by French botanist, André Michaux in the 1780’s while in America on a botanical mission for King Louis XVI.  While most blackberry, and even raspberry. plants have botanical names also beginning with Rubus, it does my heart good to know that a famed botanist long ago recognized this particular specie of berry plant and gave it a special name.

Now, on to ways that you can very positively identify those wild vines as being Southern Dewberry.  Even though dewberry plants and blackberry plants alike have vines called primocanes and floricanes, the main difference here is that dewberry vines root at the tip, whereas blackberries do not.

Southern Dewberry Primocane

Southern Dewberry Primocane

Primocanes come first, and notice how they stand almost straight up, are covered with bright red bristles (not thorns), and have five-foliolate leaves, which alternate on the stem.  Also you will notice that there are no flowers and no berries on the Primocane.  That’s because (I think) they are the “male” vines.

Southern Dewberry Floricane

Southern Dewberry Floricane

After the second year, the Floricanes (or flower-bearing) are a trailing vine, bearing small, white, five-petal flowers, which will evolve into those lovely, dark purple tart berries.  In the photo above, you can see the vines with the very distinct thorns and the three-foliolate leaves (rather than five like the Primocane).  Yes, I took these photos while I was picking with the idea of closely illustrating these things for you, my dear readers.

In my studies to find definitive proof that what I’ve been picking all these years really are dewberries, I learned many other interesting things.  Did you know, for example, that the Southern Dewberry is on the USDA’s 2012 official list of  National Wetland Plants? Another interesting tidbit I turned up is the fact that  Rubus trivialis, the Southern Dewberry, isn’t the only dewberry in Louisiana.

Liberty Hyde Bailey

Liberty Hyde Bailey 1858-1954

It seems yet another intelligent botanist found a couple slightly different vines, one of which bears the common name, New Orleans Dewberry.  Who knew?  The gentleman who discovered this species, Liberty Hide Bailey, was born in America about 58 years after Michaux died of a tropical fever in Madagascar.  Hyde eventually came to be known as “The Father of Modern Horticulture”.  So, if somebody so well versed in the science of plant taxonomy thought it was necessary to point out that there was more than one kind of dewberry, then who am I to shamefully continue calling them by their local misnomer?

Thank you, Liberty, for you have indeed set me free.  Henceforth, I will unashamedly call these berries what they are: Southern Dewberries; but even then, I know that like a rose and its sweet smell, a dewberry, by any other name,  would taste as tart.

Bonus Post – Cordial Update

Last April, I made my Great Grandmother Addie roll over in her grave by making some cordial (which I, under peer pressure, called Blackberry Cordial), and I experimented with two recipes.

Year-old Dewberry Cordial - The successful recipe

Year-old Dewberry Cordial – The successful recipe

The above-pictured batch came out very well.  It produced a very rich, sweet, dessert-type cordial.  And yes, I will make it again, and I will call it by its correct name this time:  DEWBERRY CORDIAL.

Blackberry Cordial Bust

Blackberry Cordial Bust

The second “recipe” I tried didn’t turn out so well.  Oh yes, those little balloons did indeed inflate as the berries fermented, and after they went flat, I strained the contents several times and put into bottles, sealed closed, and laid them on their sides in a dark place for months, as suggested.  When it was time to uncork the cordial, it wasn’t a very pleasant uncorking.  This cordial tasted like bad wine, or very dark-colored rancid vinegar!  It was, in a word, a bust!  It was way more labor intensive than the first recipe, and I will not make it again.

What else will I do with dewberries this season?  I will unashamedly make:

Dewberry Cobbler

Dewberry Dumplings

Dewberry Jam

and hope to make Dewberry Jelly

If I decide to do anything else with them, you’ll be the first to know!

Berry sincerely yours,

BW

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Comments

A Berry Good Education — 131 Comments

  1. From the looks of those vines, you’ll have quite a few more pickings to make. Last year was a bust on the MS. fenceline. I think the birds got to them before I could. I’ll have to check the fenceline Friday when we drive up.

  2. I love to read your blogs I ALWAYS learn something.Do you have the large swamp berries? I the spring my mother would take us along the creek ans marshy land to pick what she called swamp berries. they are larger and longer than blackberries.

  3. A gal after my heart. I come from North Louisiana. We had dewberries along the Red River farm I grew up on. Then a week or two later, I would go to the hills (yea, I know, in Louisiana, it is more of a dip in the road that make the other part look like a hill) and picked blackberries. Not sure after reading your article exactly what to call’em now. However, my husband and I have had an on going argument about this for 45 years.
    But today, I will pick my first dewberries with my grandsons. We each get a stick, to gently shake the berry vines and run the snakes off, we call our sticks, Dicky The Stick, after an old Johnny Carson comedy skit. We will have dewberry cobbler, made by my husband. I will make jam. Then in a couple of weeks we go find the blackberries.
    This time of the year, my hands and arms looks like I’ve been in a cat fight….we call them war wounds. lol

    • Oh, I just love your comment! And welcome to the bayou. Always great to have new readers and comments. How did you find this bayou blog? So glad you did! Well, I grew up picking dewberries in Bossier City, so there, we have a lot in common. My Great Grandmother Addie’s house sat very near the Red River, near the train trestle crossing the river from Bossier to Shreveport. Her house was where the now Bossier Riverfront Boardwalk shopping mecca is. It’s great to have you here. Hope you become a regular! BW

      • I bet if we go back far enough we will find out we are cousins. And look at you…been passing yourself off as Bayou Woman…you are a Redneck, just like me. lol And just like you I always try and pass as a South Louisiana gal. I fit in down here…not so much in Natchitoches, Marthaville, Pleasant Hill and up toward Bossier. First Mardi Gras parade and first boiled crabs and I called home and told Mama to break my plate ’cause I wouldn’t be coming home.
        I can’t remember how I found your blog…like it very much.

        • Well, hm. I always have trouble with that term redneck! I never ever considered myself one when I worked in the small town of Farmerville before I moved to Thibodaux in 1978! I’ve been down here over half my life, so this is home. I raised five kids on the bayou, so I guess that’s my ticket to authenticity. And if that’s not enough, well, all the hurricanes I’ve been through and flooded homes, well, that certainly means I paid my dues. Glad you like the blog and look forward to your great comments!!!

  4. Darn, you had me so excited, but apparently the area north of Hammond (I spend my days here) has been so cool, the vines are just now blooming. In Baton Rouge a vine in my yard will have ripe berries today or tomorrow. Anyway, I got a nice walk in this morning and found a few new hot spots to pick this year.

  5. No matter what you call them, they are all still blackberries. I ain’t never gonna call them dewberries. LOL! And what is this cordial stuff you are talking about?

    • Dear, dear Choupiquer. You don’t have to call them dewberries, because you’re from south Louisiana and you just can’t help it if you didn’t get a proper botanical education!!! And it’s delicious is what it is, AND I have a bottle for you. Please remind me next time you’re coming down, okay?

  6. If CwitdeR would get going I imagine those ones growing by the flounder hole are perfect. If’n they survived the blows…..

    Released the biggest crappie (sac) of year so far today in driving rain so no pics, Mouth that would hold a LSU baseball

  7. Dear Readers, I’ve just finished editing this post. It was scheduled for publication on Wednesday. I guess I put in the wrong numerical date, because it posted today by mistake, including all the boo boos. But, it’s all good now.

  8. Could you share your recipe for the BLACKBERRY cordial? I just can’t call them dewberries, sorry. My poor old daddy would turn in his grave if I did. Your cordial sounds a lot like Cherry Bounce. It’s made from Louisiana cherries, sugar, and either white port wine, or vodka. I checked the vines behind the levee last week and it looked like they will be ready in a week to 10 days. Another great post, as always!

    • David, it’s quite alright that you call them as you see fit! Remember, they still taste the same no matter what we call them! I was thinking that if I make another batch, I would do an entire post on the recipe, with my step by step photos, but it takes six weeks. Meanwhile, here’s what I did: I combined a couple of recipes, but here it is: 8 Cups of fresh berries, 3 cups sugar, 2 cups vodka (the smoother the vodka the smoother the cordial). Place berries in a gallon glass or plastic jar (do not use metal). Pour in sugar and vodka and stir well. I did not crush the berries. Add filtered water until mix fills jar about 3/4 full. Stir gently a few times until the sugar dissolves. Cover (I screwed the cap on tight) and stand in cool, dark place for six weeks. I put it in my closet. After six weeks, strain through a kitchen strainer first, then cheese cloth, and then a very fine coffee filter (I used a little coffee basket made of a fine-mesh micro screen). If not available strain through jelly bag or cheese cloth again. Finally, filter through a paper coffee filter. This will take almost a whole day, but will go faster if you do the previous straining process first. Pour final product in bottles. Store in cool, dark place (not frig). Good luck! (And yes, you must educate us about Louisiana cherries, as per Steffi’s request!)

      • The cherry trees that we gathered fruit from are Black Cherry (Prunus serotina) also sometimes called a wild cherry tree. Your recipe sounds a lot like my dad’s. He made it in a 3 gallon crock and I can remember helping him strain it through cheese cloth. It would sit for about 5-6 weeks then he would strain out the solids and let it sit for 3 more weeks. He would then run it through a paper filter and bottle it up. The paper filters were the ones we used to strain the cooking oil from the fryers at his restaurant, a lot like a big coffee filter. I can remember him dipping the top of the bottles in hot wax to seal them. The Cherry Bounce was always served around Christmas and sometimes a half pint would find its way into the duck blind to warm your insides on those cold late afternoon hunts in the swamps around Lake Maurapas. I need to ask my Mom if she still has his recipe and if she does, I would be happy to share it here on my favorite blog in the world. Keep up the great stories that bring back those memories of those who made us who we are today. My Dad’s birthday was last week and I sure do miss him. Your story about blackberries, I mean …. still can’t call them that brought back wonderful memories.

        • Oh what a wealth of information! So, I looked this up on my favorite USDA plant site, and oh what I would give to see one of these or even have one for myself! Now the search will begin to see which nursery carries these trees. How exciting. From November through January, I read all 19 books in Jim Burke’s Dave Robicheaux Detective Series, and guess what? There is one entitled The Cherry Bounce. His books are set in real places in Louisiana, and mainly New Iberia area. So tell us again, where did you grow up? Please do ask Mom if she has the recipe, and I would love to have you email me a guest post if you would like to do that. See what happens when you write things like, “my favorite blog in the world”?! Cherry Bounce is something I’d never heard of until I read the book, and here you are, just a few short months later, telling your own stories about yet one more food-related south Louisiana cultural occurrence. That is what this blog is all about! Your last sentence made me chuckle, David. It’s okay if you can’t quite say dewberry, all that matters is that the post did its job—educated some new folks and brought back memories to others, like you! Thanks for sharing, David! (And guess what else? These trees are also on the USDA Wetland Plant list, considered as usually occurring in upland wetlands. The photos of the fruit look similar to the elderberries I have on my land.)

          • Ah, Cuzzie, we are sooo related. Read all James Lee Burkes’ books. Cherry Bounce was one of my favs.
            There used to be a cherry tree in the backyard of the 100 year old building where I worked before Katrina. She knocked out the tree and my job. But those were some good cherries!

          • Ask and ye shall receive. I think I have a starter in a flower pot that I would be happy to share with you if you promise to plant it at Camp Dularge. I have a busy weekend planned but hope to have some free time next weekend. The wife and I are giving a baby shower this weekend and planning to head down to Golden Meadow on Sunday and deck hand for a Captain buddy of mine. I grew up in Lutcher, La. and spent a lot of years in Baton Rouge. I moved back to St. James parish to a little town called Paulina about 11 years ago and married my high school sweetheart. Mom says she thinks she still has the recipe and will look for it this weekend! Good night to all from the river parishes.

            • Dave, what a generous offer! I’m really not sure there is a spot for it at Camp Dularge, but I have a big big yard down where I live. I read that they need full sun, and there are already many mature trees in the camp yard that would overshadow the poor thing!!! Have a great weekend, and the thought of deckhanding for a Captain buddy has me quite intrigued!

  9. Louisiana has cherries? The only cherries I’ve ever seen in La. came from the grocery store. What variety are they?

    • Did you see his reply? It’s a black cherry, and they usually grow wild! I’ve never seen them, but they can be ordered. Also, they grow very, very big and are cut down for “cherry wood”!!! By the way, picked two gallons this morning in no time at all! You were right about abundance of berries. Cordial is all mixed up!

  10. The vines along the railroad tracks east of town are pretty much solid white right now. They are mixed in w/bluebonnets which are in full bloom. I am worried about how to keep my mom from taking off down the tracks to pick them since she can only shuffle now. I can’t handle the slopes to take her and she loves to pick dewberries.

    • Oh, I just love you and your mom. Will you please tell her again that I’m sorry I’ve not had the chance to meet her in person? What a hard-working spirit she has. Maybe get some of the grand kids to go with y’all? I bet the white berry blooms and the bluebonnets would make a gorgeous photo, taken in the morning sun. And I hope it works out for you to get to go pick some!

      • She planted vines around her fence at home and they were covered in blooms last week. But, she prefers the ones along the rail lines for some reason. For years, she has canned them in the big Blackburn syrup jars then when needed, the juice becomes jelly or used with the berries for dumplings. The berries are for cobblers mainly. I love dewberry jelly.

        • Well, I definitely feel better knowing that she at least has vines are her house from which to pick. Planting those vines on her fence line is yet one more way she’s proven her industriousness! Last year, Moura Maun (developer of Acadiana is Home) gave me the idea of canning the berries with sugar, to use later as cobbler filling, and that is a GREAT IDEA!!! Your mom’s idea is slightly different, but still works just the same. All I had to do for cobbler was add a little more sugar and thickening and cook it down! Thanks for sharing the memory of Blackburn Syrup, too. We grew up eating that, and I still like buying their preserves in the mason jar with the handle! Here’s a brief history about T.J. Blackburn’s syrup company located in Jefferson, TX.

          • We used to go to the Blackburn Syrup place and watch them from stripping the cane to bottling the syrup. We would spend several hours there each fall (I think it was fall). I was only about 7 or 8. We always came away with lots of fresh syrup and big sticks of sugar cane to chew on. I miss those days and the smell of fresh cooking syrup.

            • Was always two kinds of cane when I was a kid. Regular cane grown for sugar and what everyone called “Blue ribbon” cane. Strickly for syrup. Near each joint on a stalk of the blue ribbon the outer sheaf was a purple color.

              I think the memories are a bunch better than that cane actually was, but you got plenty of fiber while chewing it. LOL

              • I, for one, didn’t grow up chewing on cane, and on the rare occasion that a stalk showed up at our house, it was just very different from anything we had ever put in our mouths. And even after I moved here, married The Captain, and had more opportunity to chew the cane, I still didn’t much care for it. Since my inlaws always had a patch of cane growing in the yard, The Captain continued their tradition of chewing the cane and taught our kids to do the same. I’m still not crazy about it, but hey, it’s part of the culture, right?

              • Now that’s a memory…we used to stop on the side of the road and cut a couple cane stalks, bring ’em home and Dad would shuck pieces with his lil knife..handing us kids each a piece. We’d chew the sweet cane till all the liquid was forced out then spit the residue out. Oh how sweet it was! 🙂

            • Oh, another wonderful memory! Yesterday at Rouses’s, I looked at their preserves and jelly in the Mason jars with handles and thought if I were running low, I would buy a jar of something I don’t make just to add to my collection of drinking jars, but I’m not running low! With the popularity of “Duck Dynasty”, drinking iced tea from Mason jars is gaining in popularity!

  11. up here in the tundra we freeze berries. Seems funny hot places can and cold places freeze. World class storms here. and dopey on drugs. trying to get back in shape for Nok-a-dish 1st of May.

  12. Cherry Bounce

    “Tak’ a bushel o’cherries, dissolve twenty-four pound o’sugar ower it, then ye put it into a forty-gallon cask and fill it up wi’ whisky.”€
    “It’s terrible. Like industrial-strength cough syrup. I will say it makes ye very cheerful, though.”
    ~ Diana Gabaldon, A Breath of Snow and Ashes

    I am not big on all those crunchy things in jams or cobblers anymore. It was alright before I got store bought teeth. Seeds hurt! That cordial does look nice. My Aunt Nettie always made Elderberry wine. She’d bottle it in little 8 oz extract bottles strickly for medicinal purposes. LOL We all said she was where the airlines came up with the little bottles from.

    We may have to do some swapping, I have some homemade liqueurs. I go thru gallons and gallons of rum and vodka playing with fruit, peaches, pears, cherries, pineapple and the strawberries came out really nice this year. LOL… Baby Sister thought I had become a drunk till she looked in the pantry. BTW I am about to try a first, watermelon. LOL

    Almost mastered both Tia Maria/Kaluhua and Baileys also. Why pay the big bucks when you can make ’em yourself. You have everything in the pantry and liquer cabinet to make it. Just need to think ahead so it can smooth out.

    I will agree, South Louisiana has the largest sweetest juiciest dewberry looking blackberries in the country!

    • “I will agree, South Louisiana has the largest sweetest juiciest dewberry looking blackberries in the country!” You’re too funny, Foamheart! After my diatribe, I would surely hate to be wrong and find out that these are just blackberries, after all. Yesterday while picking, I noticed that one side of the patch produced the big, juicy sweeter berries, and the other side produced much smaller, more tart berries. What’s up with that? (Your experimentation with liqueurs is quite impressive. So you want to swap a bottle of Dewberry Cordial for something? We can work on that!

  13. ROFLMAO!!!!! Swamp People……….
    The commentator calls it a “special cajun swamp machete”, better know to folks from south Louisiana as a Long handled Cane knife.
    We be calling ’em Alligator machetes now.

    I spoke too soon, Gerber already makes a “Junior Gator Machete”

  14. NEWS FLASH: This post just became a feature post on WordPress page called “Freshly Pressed”, so let’s be nice to the visitors and newcomers that this will produce! I’m off to create some new marsh this morning, even though it’s raining! BW

  15. Oh, gosh, what a lovely post. It’s making my mouth water.

    I’d be hard pressed to find a patch of dewberries big enough to pick enough to do anything with. I spot one or two, now and then. Pick ’em and pop ’em in my mouth.

    Back when my folks still had woods behind their house, we found a huge wild blackberry patch. Canes a good 6 feet high or more. Blackberries as big as your thumb. Luscious, sweet blackberries.

    We picked that thing for several years until some developer razed that piece of property and put up duplexes. Hiss, boo……

    Getting in there and getting out was a rather hazardous undertaking. One or another of us would get entangled and have to be rescued. I think we ate as many as we put in the buckets.

    Mama made blackberrie cobblers and Dad made blackberry wine.

    • Mike, thanks for stopping by and you can ignore the question I left on your blog! I just realized this post was Freshly Pressed about an hour ago!! That would explain the sudden rush of traffic!

  16. Thank you. I just wrote a piece about missing my garden and composting. I miss both Mulberries (from a tree) and Blackberries from the vine. Additionally the spring is for Mushrooms!!! All 3 are items I have yet to find in the Mountainous area of Colorado.

  17. Blackberries are probably my favorite childhood memory. My Pa used to make sweet blackberry wine with the ones that grew in the backyard garden. Politically correct or not, when we had a tummy ache that was the remedy.

    • Conjuring memories is almost any writer’s goal, so I’m so glad to bring back that memory for you! Welcome to the bayou, thanks for stopping by and for leaving a comment. I will visit you, too!

  18. Blackberries are what I call ‘em…cajun style, lol…. #24? JK… inside joke.

    Anyways, I was wondering if you’ve ever tried mulberries? They are sweet and don’t have seeds. I’m gonna make some mulberry dumplings see how they come out. I’ve got two quarts, picked in Grand Isle a few days ago. The birds LOVE them too! I also have some blackberries all along my bayou side I’m gonna go pick soon…before the critters and birds get ‘em! Have you ever eaten a mulberry?

    • You made me want to go back and see what was the second question I didn’t say yes to besides the “do you know Kenny Hill personally?” I told the gal right off that I’m not Cajun but she roped me into the survey anyway.

      Yes, I have tried mulberries, but I find other than the sweetness, there’s not a lot of flavor. After watching the birds eat the mulberries out of Mr. Santiny’s tree in 2004, I was fortunate enough to get a native red mulberry from the plant center. Sadly, though, I could not save it from the ravages of saltwater inundation from Hurricane Rita in 2005. So, I got another one, and it was doing wonderfully when along came the saltwaters of Hurricane Ike. I’ve not planted one again. 🙁

      Enjoy picking your bayou side dewberries, LOL!

  19. Hah! We made mulberry wine at school and hid it in the cricket pavilion. During the night the bottles burst and spilled purple stain all over the white cricket pads and equipment. It was a hell of a mess.
    I was uinimpressed by your protestations of old age, if your photo is anything to go by you don’t look a day over 21! Tony

    • Tony, I’m learning all sorts of new things today on people’s blogs, like yours! I hate to admit I’d never hard of Xray Art and find it quite intriguing. Will be browsing around your art for a while! Protestations of old age? Hm. Well, my oldest child is 30. Does that better proof. Thanks so much for the kind words about the photo. It was taken just last year! Welcome to this blog and thanks for stopping by.

  20. HI from downunder. Thanks for the lesson. I never knew there were such things as dewberries. Now I know! I hope you get to continue to make things with dewberries and I feel very confident in you to deliver! Thanks for sharing the lesson!

  21. I love berries and the most like is there so much variety that you need to discover. I like the way you have driven the berry story in your post it kept me engaging more and more and specially the people who have visited your blog and commented with such a constructive approach …. I love it.

    • Thanks, John! Yes, those are good memories! We’ve advanced to cheesecloth though :). But if it’s ever not available, I’ll be sure and remember to use a T-shirt like your mom did!

  22. So, I was curious, and poked around on the internet a bit… And it seems as though you were both right! “The blackberry’s scientific name is Rubus, with about 200 species of blackberry and dewberry under this genus. You can call a dewberry a blackberry, but you cannot call a blackberry a dewberry unless that is the specific type.” At least according to EHow, which certainly isn’t the most reputable source. But even still, food for thought!

    • Hi. Yes your findings are correct, but as a wetland tour guide, I tend to lean more toward the state university and federal plant sites for the best and most accurate information. Nope, it is indeed a misnomer if you call a trur blackberry a dewberry!

  23. Fascinating – there are so many different kinds of berries. Here in the Appalachian Mtns, we have not only wild black raspberries that can easily be mistaken for blackberries, red raspberries with a gorgeous purple flower, actual blackberries, blueberries and huckleberries (which in some areas grow all in the same location), wild gooseberries, tea berries, wild strawberries……I can’t wait for the season to begin.
    Why the botanist labeled your dewberries “trivialis” is another question 🙂 Doesn’t seem like they are trivial to local culture and people who know what to do with it!

    • I thought the same thing about “trivialis”, Ms. Beauty! I think if I had to move, I would move to where you are!!! All those wild things sound divine! Welcome to the bayou and I hope you come back again real soon!

  24. I’m so envious! Over here in Britain, we don’t get blackberries (closely related to dewberries) until August. Picking them is one of my favourite things in life. Lucky you!

  25. Oh, how I envy you those berries! My raspberries have kind of petered out which is unusual for plants that generally grow like weeds around here.

  26. Through the first half of your post I was thinking “but those are blackberries, why is she calling them dewberries?” Thank you for the education!

  27. Thanks for the education! I grew up in NW FL, and used to pick what i thought were blackberries all spring and summer long. Looking back, now, I am not so sure…

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