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The youngberry is a special type of hybrid berry named after its Louisiana breeder in the US, Byrnes M. Young, who first created the strain of plant in 1905 and released it into the botanical market in 1926. Young created the strain by crossing the Austin-Mayes dewberry with a blackberry and raspberry hybrid known as the Phenomenal, and it has since been given the botanical name Rubus cecaesius. The Austin-Mayes dewberry as one of its parent plants was a special, thornless breed of dewberry created in 1912 by W. P. Austin in the US state of Texas. While most plants are haploids, having a single set of chromosomes, the youngberry, due to its complex origins, is a hexaploid, having six times as many chromosomes as a normal haploid. Popular regions of the world where the youngberry is cultivated include Australia, South Africa, and the southern US.
The youngberry plant produces black-purple berries in the summertime. The plant itself reaches maturity where a steady supply of berries are produced after about three years of growth. The canes of the youngberry plant can be trained to grow up trellises or walls, and can reach a length of 20 to 23 feet (6 to 7 meters).
Growing conditions for most flowering or fruiting plants often include regular fertilization, and the youngberry is no exception. It is recommended that the soil where the youngberry bush will be planted be given organic or synthetic fertilizer first, and that the plant is mulched in the spring time to keep the roots moist as the temperature rises into summer. Mulching along with cutting off old stems when the plant is fruiting will increase the amount of berries that are produced.
Several types of pests and molds can harm berry plants in general. Among insects that are problems for the youngberry are aphids, leafhoppers, and some strains of beetles. The plant is also attacked by a gray-colored mold that grows directly on the berries in damp environments.
Berries can vary in terms of their appeal. The youngberry is generally looked at as being a strain of blackberry, as this is the fruit it most resembles. It has few seeds, however, and a color of deep wine that makes it an attractive addition to salads and as a jam and jelly ingredient. The core of the berry is also rather small, which makes it less problematic when crushing for stored preserves. As with most dark purple berries and fruits, the youngberry is high in both vitamin A, vitamin B1, and vitamin C, and contains the fruit pectin known to lower cholesterol levels.