Origin and distribution
Raspberries belongs to the family Rosaceae and are natives of the temperate regions of North Hemisphere, the genetic diversity of various Rubus species being located in different centres of diversity i.e. Chinese-Japanese Centre, Indonesian Centre, Hindustan Centre, European-Siberian Centre, North American Centre and South American Centre. The raspberry is widely grown in USA, Russia, Canada, Belgium, France, Bulgaria, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, China, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Finland, UK, Australia and New Zealand. Out of 400 species available world-wide, 57 are found in India, and two species i.e. R. ellipticus and R. niveus occur in temperate Himalayas grown naturally from 2000-3200 m. They are called as akhain, heer, hinsalu, hisalu and kala hinsalu. It also occurs to some extent in Mahabaleshwar of Maharashtra and Bangaluru in Karnataka.
R. ellipticus is called as Himalayan yellow raspberry, distributed throughout sub-temperate Himalayas between altitudes of 700-1,800 m MSL. “Akhain” and “Hisalu” are popular names of this species. It is an evergreen shrub, generally curving down with dense prickly short-lived stems. The leaves are compound, trifoliate, serrated, white tiny flowers, bright yellow aggregate fruits, sometimes reddish yellow, borne on nipple shaped thalamus, easily detachable from thalamus. It is the gregarious bearer. Flowering starts from mid-March to the first week of April depending upon the altitude. Fruits mature from mid- May to mid-June.
Fruits possess excellent eating quality. R. niveus is called as Kala hinsalu grows throughout temperate Himalayas from 2000-3200 m. It grows in comparatively cooler climate than R. ellipticus. The plants are prickly bush having compound leaves and pink flowers. Flowerings takes place in the last week of April and continue till May. Fruits start ripening in June-July. The velvety black fruits are aggregate fruits, consisting numerous ovaries of the flower ripened in to small drupelets. Fruits have excellent dessert quality. Nutritional value and uses: Raspberry contains almost all important nutrients without being very rich in any particular ingredient of nutrients.Yellow ripe fruits of R. ellipticus are eaten, fresh juice is also consumed. The roots are used for making country liquor. The fruits of R. niveus are used in the processing industry and, squash, preserved, jam pies are prepared.
Raspberry is essentially required cool climate but can grow under subtropical conditions. It can be grown in a wide range of soils from sandy loam to clay. The subsoil should be deep and well drained, with pH 5.8-6.7 (moderately acidic). Raspberries are commercially propagated by stem cuttings, root suckers, root cuttings and tip layering. Red raspberry produces suckers in abundance during growing season. Actively growing young suckers are used for planting in moderately rainy season. Black and purple raspberries are propagated as a rule by tip layering. These berries are arched canes at root tips.
Plantation is done of well-established plants in the nursery propagated by root suckers/ cuttings. The row to row and plant to plant distance is depend upon the species, but usually 2-2.5 m between rows and 1 m within the row is applied. Raspberries are pruned (topped) to keep them from growing too tall by cutting back the ends of the canes as they reach proper height. New canes grow from buds on the base of old canes and suckers arise directly from the roots, removal of weak canes, dried twigs and suckers and keeping out strong canes per hill provides good fruit yield. A dose of 50 kg N, 25-50 kg P, 75-100 kg K and 20-25 tons FYM/ha is given in early spring. Irrigation during spring and summer is necessary.
Drought during ripening and picking reduces berry size and yield. Raspberries begin fruiting in second year of planting. In Shivalik region, most of the species of Rubus bear fruits in May-June. Fruit colour is the main criterion in determining the stage of ripeness in raspberry. The berries should be picked when they are fully coloured and fruits are readily separate from the stem. Hand picking is usually done. Raspberries fruits are highly perishable and can be stored for a limited time.
Twenty accessions of Rubus species viz. IC209684 R. truetlerii; IC209686 R. reticulata; IC209710,IC552676 R. lasiocarpus; IC209727, IC349943 R. paniculata; IC209731 R. hypargyrus; IC349947, IC349948 R. ulmifolius; IC555277 R. opulifolius; IC555283 R. calycinus; IC555289 R. assamensis; IC555304, IC555308 R. moluccanus; IC555312 R. rosifolius; IC555322, IC558107 R. macilentus; IC558106 R. nepalensis; IC558108 R. biflorus and R. idaeus) have established in the field gene bank. Some of them are having worth potential in terms of fruit colour and flavour.
These Rubus accessions were collected from Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim and Himachal Pradesh. Among different species, Rubus idaeus var. vulgatus (European red raspberry), R. occidentalis and R. leucodermis (black raspberry), R. odoratus (thimbleberry), R. spectabilis (salmonberry), R. idaeus var. strigosus (red raspberry), R. phoenicolasius (wine berry), R. ellipticus (golden evergreen raspberry) are the important fruits bearing species.
- National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources Regional Station Phagli, Shimla