Flowers - Wild Red Raspberry
( Originally Published 1916 )
(Rubus strigosus) Rose family
Flowers—White, about 1/2 in. across, on slender, bristly pedicels, in a loose cluster. Calyx deeply 5-parted, persistent in fruit ; 5 erect, short-lived petals, about the length of the sepals ; stamens numerous ; carpels numerous, inserted on a convex spongy receptacle, and ripening into drupelets. Stem: 3 to 6 ft. high, shrubby, densely covered with bristles ; older, woody stems with rigid, hooked prickles. Leaves : Compounded of 3 to 5 ovate, pointed, and irregularly saw-edged leaflets, downy beneath, on bristly petioles. Fruit: A light red, watery, tender, high-flavored, edible berry ; ripe July—September.
Preferred Habitat—Dry soil, rocky hillsides, fence-rows, hedges. Flowering Season—May July.
Distribution—Labrador to North Carolina, also in Rocky Mountain region.
Who but the bees and such small visitors care about the raspberry blossoms ? Notwithstanding the nectar secreted in a fleshy ring for their benefit, comparatively few insects enter the flowers, whose small, erect petals imply no hospitable welcome. Occasionally a visitor laden with pollen from another plant alights in the centre of a blossom, and leaves some on the stigmas in bending his head down between them and the stamens to reach the refreshment; but inasmuch as the erect petals allow no room for the stamens to spread out and away from the stigmas, it follows that self-fertilization very commonly occurs.
Of course, men and children, bears and birds, are vastly more interested in the delicious berries ; men for the reason that several excellent market varieties, some white or pale red, the Cuthbert and Hansall berries among others, owe their origin to this hardy native. Many superior sorts derived from its European counter-part (R. Idaeus) cannot well endure our rigorous northern climate. As in the case of most berry-bearing species, the raspberry depends upon the birds to drop its undigested seeds over the country, that new colonies may arise under freer conditions. Indeed, one of the best places for the budding ornithologist to take opera-glasses and note-book is to a raspberry patch early in the morning.