Fruit: The large bright red fruits are 10 - 30 mm in diameter and form in clusters shortly after flowering. They're delicious eaten fresh, tasting a little milder than European raspberries, and they're popularity is seeing them reach supermarket shelves. It's the best of Australia’s native raspberries and one of the most promising bush tucker fruits.
Growth Habit: The Atherton raspberry is a dense, evergreen shrub with a habitat similar to that of the common raspberry. It is a rampant grower that suckers forming an impenetrable thicket of prickly canes 2-3m high. It can become a nuisance if not properly managed via pruning - it's best to plant them in a contained area - for example between paths and walls. It can be left to bramble and sucker over the ground although it is more commonly trellised.
Foliage/Flowers: The pinnate leaves are bright green and usually with 5-9 elliptical leaflets tapering to a point. Leaflets are about 50 - 60 mm long by 20 - 30 mm wide with toothed margins. The white, 5-petalled flowers occur throughout most of the year.CULTURE
Adaptation : Although the Atherton raspberry originated from the Queensland tropics, it thrives in sub-tropical and warm temperate climates that have regular rainfall. It is ideally suited to warmer areas that are unable to grow the traditional raspberry well. They will grow and fruit in part shade but are more productive in full sun.
Soils : This hardy plant is not particularly fussy about soil, but will grow best in fertile, well-drained soils.
Irrigation : Will grow and fruit in Wollongong without additional irrigation, but respond well to additional irrigation during its growing and fruiting period.
Pruning : New canes are generally tied onto a supporting trellis and pruned to height of 1-2m to encourage fruiting laterals. 5-7 vigorous canes from each plant are allowed to develop each year, pruning out any surplus. After two years, canes are harvested for their fruits and pruned out. It's also beneficial to control suckers from spreading over the rest of the garden and reducing fruit yield.
Propagation : Can be grown from seed but more commonly grown cuttings using firm, current season's growth. Suckers also transplant readily.
Pests and diseases : Very few pest or diseases, although birds relish the fruit and netting may be required.Harvest: One plant can produce up to 3 kg of fruit a year. Fruiting begins within the first year of planting and continues throughout most of the year except perhaps in early spring.