Apr 7, 2011

Are Blackberries Self-Pollinated?

Blackberry shrubs are a trailing or upright plant – commonly cultivated for its tasty aggregate fruit. In terms of pollination, some blackberry plants are able to self-pollinate, while others require cross-pollination to set fruit. In general, trailing blackberries require cross-pollination while upright blackberries are able to self-pollinate. It should be noted that while some upright blackberries can self-pollinate, cross-pollinated blackberries tend to produce more fruit. Always try to plant at least two different types of blackberry cultivars with similar blooming times in close proximity to one another.
What is Pollination? Pollination is the transfer of pollen from the anther to the stigma of a flower.  Self-pollinated plants are able to transfer pollen from the anther to the stigma on itself or on a plant of the same cultivar. Cross-pollinated plants require a different plant species for pollen exchange. In the absence of other plant cultivars, fruit will not be produced. In addition, not only must there be other cultivars, but they must within 200 feet of one another, and they must have overlapping bloom times.
How are blackberries pollinated? Blackberries rely heavily on the wind and bees to transfer pollen. Because wild bees can be unreliable, commercial growers will often place bee hives near blackberry crops. Blackberries contain individual pistils within inflorescences, which form the drupelets of the aggregate fruit. A majority of the individual pistils need to be pollinated in order to produce a large, fully formed fruit. Once pollinated, blackberries require between 35 to 45 days on the plant to mature.
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