The raspberry has been cultivated as a fruit over Europe and Asia during the historic period and even back to the fourth century. The best European varieties were introduced quite as early as the apple, pear, and grape. But like the European grape it was soon found to be unreliable, except in a few favored localities. Indeed, it may be said that the imported varieties of raspberry were more general failures than the grape, as the latter does well in California, while the European raspberries, with the exception of the Antwerp and Fontenay, are not a commercial success anywhere on our continent. Gradually by selection and hybridizing we have developed a number of red, black, and yellow varieties that compare favorably with the best of the Old World. It is now a popular commercial fruit in all parts of the Union and quite a favorite with amateurs, as a well-managed plantation lasts for many years without renewal.
Attempts have been made within the past five years to classify our cultivated varieties and determine the species to which they belong. But it is not wholly satisfactory, as it is evident that we have many hybrids difficult to place botanically. Even our list of European varieties mostly shows traces of crossing with our American red species and the purple-cane class. For horticultural purposes it is best to divide the varieties into the following classes:
(1. Seedling Variations) The black-cap varieties.
(2. Seed Variation of Cultivated Plants) Purple-cane varieties.
(3. Commercial Seeds) The American red varieties.
(4. Seed-saving) The European red varieties.