Blackberry Vs Dewberry. An In-Depth Comparison

Blackberries and dewberries share a lot of similarities, so many indeed that dewberries formal name is trailing blackberries. Despite this, there are as many differences between blackberry vs dewberry as there are in kidney beans and red beans.

Dewberries are just another specie of blackberries, also known as trailing blackberries. While dewberries grow on trailing vines close to the floor, have bigger drupelets and ripen early, blackberries grow on erect or semi erect vines, have smaller but greater amount of drupelets and tend to be ripe later in the season.

These are just some of the most basic differences between dewberry vs blackberry, but there are other characteristics that separate the 2 of them. I made a list to point at some of the most relevant information that will help distinguish between one and the other.

Dewberries vs Blackberries comparison
Dewberries vs Blackberries growth

Main Differences between Blackberry Vs Dewberry

Grow HabitGrows on erect or semi erect vines and
can reach a height of 7 feet
Grows in trailing vines in the floor
and has a height of 1-2 feet
LeavesGrows in clusters of 3, 5 or 7 leavesGrows in clusters of 3 leaves
FruitsBigger in size, drupelets are smaller but
in a greater quantity. Has a lot of crunchy
Smaller in size but with bigger
drupelets. It has less, but tougher
and larger seeds
FlavorTart, slightly sweet. It gets sweeter
as it passes more time in the vines
Slightly acidic and less sweet. It’s
also sweeter as it passes more time
ColorShiny black, dull black when fully ripewine colored to black
HardinessZones 4-10Zones 5-10
HarvestHarvest in July and AugustHarvest in May and June
Some of this information (such as leaves, flavor, and harvest) will be different depending on the cultivars and species planted. Here I wrote the information that fits for the majority of scenarios.

Blackberry vs Dewberry: Differentiation

Dewberries vs blackberries differences

As we’ve said before, blackberries and dewberries are from different species. I won’t go into names, but some well-known are the “Himalayan blackberry” and the “Evergreen blackberry“. For dewberries, they are often separated as “Northern dewberries” and “Southern dewberries“.

Other key differences to tell between blackberries vs dewberries are the leaves. Blackberries comes in clusters of 3, 5 or 7 leaves while dewberries usually comes in clusters of 3. This depends on the species, but for example Himalayan blackberries have clusters of 5 leaves when fully grown while northern dewberries have clusters of 3 leaves.

There is a popular phrase that says “leaves of three, let it be” as it could be a poisonous plant such as poison ivy. Despite this, a way to tell the difference is to know that dewberries often have hairy little thorns in the stems and grow black fruit, while poison ivy has no thorns and well, their white fruit is very different.

One last thing to take into account in the differentiation topic of blackberry vs dewberry, is the fruit itself. Blackberries are bigger, with a greater amount of drupelets, and very shiny. Dewberries are smaller, have bigger drupelets but a less amount of them, and has a wine-like color to a black one.

Blackberry vs Dewberry: Growing Habits

Dewberries vs blackberries growing habits

The easiest way to check if a plant is a blackberry or a dewberry plant is to check it’s growing habits. Although you can grow dewberries and blackberries using the same process, dewberries will grow in vines sticking to the floor while blackberries will grow on erect or semi erect vines on bushes.

Dewberries tend to have a height of about 1-2 feet at most and need to be supported if grown by home gardeners. Blackberries can reach up to 7 feet tall for the erect types and it doesn’t require support, although semi-erect types grow better if supported.

Thorns are also a good indicator to distinguish between them. Dewberries species such as northern dewberries have little hairs in their stem and are almost harmless. In the other hand, I’d pay 20 dollars to see someone carry a Himalayan blackberry without gloves on.

Of course this can fluctuate from case to case as there are thornless blackberry varieties and dewberries species with bigger thorns in their stems.

Blackberry vs Dewberry: Predators

A really cute turtle

We’d usually call this part as “pest” but I like the name “predators” better.

Due to their growing habit, dewberries can be eaten by a bigger amount of predators than blackberries. Both of them are eaten by animals such as deer, elks, and of course, birds.

But in the case of dewberries, they are easier to access to small animals due to their height and they can be eaten by other mammals such as rabbits or reptiles like turtles, more specifically, box turtles.

Blackberry vs Dewberry: Harvesting

Harvesting blackberries from a plant

There are some differences to take into account when harvesting dewberry vs blackberry. Blackberries, while depending on the cultivar, are usually ready to harvest in July and or August. Dewberries in the other hand, can be harvested as early as late spring (May) or early summer (Jun).

To know if the berries are ready to be harvested, we need to look at the color. They’re a few days away from ripening if they have a red color, and are ready to be picked when they turn black. The berries will also spread from the plant more easily. If you go outside to forage blackberries and dewberries, make sure to use gloves to watch out for the thorns!

Blackberry vs Dewberry: Flavor

Dewberries in a bowl

Dewberries and blackberries have similar flavors with some subtle differences. Blackberries are tart to the taste and slightly sweet. Dewberries in comparison are a little bit more acidic and less sweet. In any case, the sweetness will depend on how much time the fruit has been ripening in the plant.

Both blackberries and dewberries can be used for the same recipes. And more often than not there won’t be a significant difference when using one fruit or the other. Both of these berries are used in jams, cobblers, pies and other desserts.

I hope you enjoyed reading this article as much as I liked writing it. For sure an interesting comparison! If you are interested on growing any of these fruits, check the links below to see some tips on how to grow these plants by seed.

How to grow blackberries from seed

A guide on how to grow dewberries.