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waxy surface, which is characteristic of the species.

This apomictic species can be grown from seeds, but is normally propagated vegetatively (using tip layers or stem pieces) because it yields sooner. It grows well on many types of soil—reportedly thriving in almost anything from heavy clays to loose volcanic sands.3 Nonetheless, it does best on moist, organic soils.

Although the species has not had the benefit of much modern horticultural attention, in well-tended plantings its annual yields are said to reach 20 tons per hectare. Improved cultural methods are needed, such as growing the plants on trellises (already done successfully in El Salvador) as well as means of controlling pests and diseases. These problems are being addressed in programs in Colombia and Venezuela.

Like other Rubus species, it exhibits wide variability because of segregation. For this reason, selection of outstanding plants and vegetative propagation may be an easy way to establish superior cultivars. Successful crosses have been made between mora de Castilla and a number of other Rubus species. So far, however, most of the hybrids have been infertile and lacking in hardiness.4

Giant Colombian Blackberry. The giant Colombian blackberry (Rubus macrocarpus) is native to a narrow, rather inaccessible zone in the higher areas of Colombia (2,600–3,400 m elevation). Its canes, leaves, and flowers resemble those of blackberries, while its light red fruits resemble raspberries in appearance and loganberries in taste. Cultivated fruits are huge—up to 5 cm long and 2.5 cm wide—several times larger than today's commercial berries. Well-grown fruits are said to be as big as a hen's egg. A number of attempts to grow this species outside its natural region of dispersal have failed, and to date, no hybrids between this and other Rubus species have been produced.

The fruit is marketed in Colombia but is usually classed as a “zarzamora” (wild bush berry), to distinguish it from the mora de Castilla. When ripe, it is wine red, with compact pulp and slight acidity.

Mora de Rocota. At the end of summer, peasants gather various wild berries, collectively called “zarzamoras,” and sell them in practically all Andean markets. Housewives buy them to make delicious jams and drinks. Chile exports some to Europe.

The mora de rocota (Rubus roseus) is one of the three leading wild zarzamoras of Bolivia, Peru, and Ecuador. When ripe, the fruits are


3 Popenoe, 1924.
4 Information from H.K. Hall.


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