Jun. 3, 2017

delicious raspberry, Rubus deliciosus

Delicious raspberry fruit are small, dry, slightly fuzzy berries that are not valued. Why then is this named R. deliciosus? A sense of humor? A little too much to drink? In this case we probably do know why. Naming plants was a serious business. Delicious raspberry was studied, named, and described in publication by John Torrey, who did all that from his desk in New York in 1827. The specimen had been collected in Colorado by Edwin James in 1820. There appears to have been a note that the fruit were tasty, despite all the traits already mentioned. Torrey had no evidence to the contrary. He named a huge volume of specimens from other botanists, sitting at desks in New York. In reading his biography, I found no mention of him getting west of New York, or collecting on his own, before the 1860s. But before he was done, he had thousands of other people's gatherings. There was even a market for plant specimens. You couldn't just click on google to see a plant from Colorado. There were numerous private collections of many thousands of specimens. Most of those wound up in museums and herbaria, where they enrich the study of plants to this day. These flowers are about an inch across, and grow in CO, NM, OK, and WY. Mt. Evans National Park, Clear Creek Co CO, 6/18/13.