Rubus alceifolius

Vietnamese raspberries and brambles

Bramble is a generic term for a shrub, usually in the genus Rubus of the rose family, which grows blackberries, raspberries, or dewberries. The raspberry is the edible fruit of a multitude of bramble species in the genus Rubus. A main difference between raspberries and blackberries is that when picked, the center of raspberry fruit is hollow.

Rubus alceifolius
Rubus alceifolius – giant bramble, Southeast Asian bramble

In Vietnam, the raspberry or bramble is generally called mâm xôi, or ngấy (and sometimes phúc bồn tử). There are about 30 known raspberry/bramble species in Vietnam:

Rubus ellipticus var. obcordatus
A yellow raspberry shrub, possibly Rubus ellipticus var. obcordatus
  • Rubus acuminatus
  • Rubus alceifolius (R. alcaefolius) – giant bramble, Southeast Asian bramble, simple-leaved bramble
  • Rubus alpestris – unresolved name
  • Rubus assamensis – Assam raspberry
  • Rubus blepharoneurus – eyelid raspberry
  • Rubus chaetophorus – bristle raspberry, orange raspberry
  • Rubus chroosepalus – hairy blackberry
  • Rubus cochinchinensis – Vietnamese raspberry
  • Rubus cochinchinensis var. glabrescens
  • Rubus columellaris (R. etropicus) – small-pillared raspberry
  • Rubus corchorifolius (R. involucratus) – Fingerberry, Jute-leaved raspberry
  • Rubus ellipticus var. obcordatus – yellow Himalayan raspberry
  • Rubus efferatus – unresolved name
  • Rubus feddii – Fedde raspberry
  • Rubus idaeifolius – unresolved name
  • Rubus inopertus – unconcealed blackberry, naked blackberry
  • Rubus lambertianus var. paykouangensis (R. viscidus)
  • Rubus leucanthus – White-flowered Raspberry
  • Rubus lineatus – Silky-leaved berry
  • Rubus malvaceus
  • Rubus moluccanus L. var. moluccanus – Molucca bramble or broad-leaf bramble
  • Rubus niveus – Mysore raspberry, Ceylon raspberry, hill raspberry
  • Rubus ovatus – oval raspberry
  • Rubus parvifolius – Japanese bramble, or Australian raspberry
  • Rubus pentagonus – pentagonal raspberry
  • Rubus pinfaensis – unresolved name
  • Rubus pluribracteatus (R. clinocephalus) – multi-sepal raspberry
  • Rubus polyadenus
  • Rubus pyrifolius (R. hexagynus)
  • Rubus reflexus – Reflex bramble
  • Rubus rosifolius – rose-leaf bramble, thimbleberry, roseleaf raspberry, Mauritius raspberry
  • Rubus rugosu – Himalayan blackberry
  • Rubus tonkinenensis – North Vietnamese raspberry
  • Rubus trianthus – three-flowered raspberry
Vietnamese raspberries
Vietnamese raspberries

The two most common species are Rubus alceifolius (giant bramble, Vietnamese: mâm xôi) and Rubus cochinchinensis (Vietnamese raspberry, Vietnamese: ngấy hương).

Raspberry farm
A raspberry farm

Cultivation

The cultivation of raspberries and similar species only started in recent years and at small scales. Rubus leucanthus (White-flowered Raspberry) and Rubus rosaefolius (roseleaf raspberry) are known to be grown in home gardens. And Rubus alceifolius is grown in crop fields. But more species are being hybidized.

Cultivated blackberries - possibly Rubus inopertus
Cultivated blackberries in Vietnam – possibly Rubus inopertus

Commercial raspberry orchards are mainly in Lâm Đồng province and the produce is for domestic markets only.

Raspberry farming in Lam Dong province
Raspberry farming in Lâm Đồng province

Culinary uses

Raspberry and blackberries may be made into juice, jelly, sorbet, syrup. Besides, the young shoots (stems) of some raspberry species are also edible.

Vietnamese blackberries
Vietnamese blackberries

 

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