The blackberry is a herbaceous to woody perennial and belongs to the rose family.
Like raspberries, blackberries, are bramble fruits. Plants produce new canes each year, which produce during the second year then die back. They may grow as self-supporting bushes or as long trailing canes. Trailing blackberries are sometimes known as dewberries.
Most varieties of blackberries are soft and perishable and cannot be shipped. Some varieties are best for the home gardener because they can be used as they are picked.
Raspberries and blackberries are closely related and cross readily. Some of the well-established blackberry hybrids, including boysenberries, loganberries, marionberries, and youngberries, are the result of such crosses.
Boysenberries were developed by Rudolph Boysen of Napa, California in the 1920s. He abandoned the berries when he sold his farm, but Walter Knott who created Knott's Berry Farm, rescued a few canes from the neglected property. The berries inspired him to create Knott's Berry Farm.
Blackberries grow best in regions with cool, fairly humid summers although some varieties will adapt to other areas. Most varieties are susceptible to winter injury in the coldest parts of the west. They can be protected somewhat with heavy winter mulch.