Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Meet 'Von', a new thornless blackberry

'Von' thornless erect blackberry.
‘Von’ is the first erect thornless floricane-fruiting blackberry to be released from the NC State University caneberry breeding program.  ‘Von’ is named after Harvey Von Underwood, who was a Researcher at NC State University. Mr. Underwood worked at NC State University muscadine and bramble breeding program in the 1950’s-70’s and was responsible for saving valuable germplasm from those programs.

'Von' was selected by Jim Ballington in 1998 as tested as NC 430. We have been evaluating 'Von'   at the Mountain Research Station in Laurel Springs, the Moutain Hort Crops Research and Extension Center in Mills River and at the Piedmont Research Station in Salisbury, NC. Dr. Penny Perkins-Veazie conducted extensive post harvest evaluation of 'Von' since her arrival at NCSU in 2009.
Here are some key attributes of 'Von':
  • In a replicated trial at the Piedmont Research Station in Salisbury NC, total yield of ‘Von’ was 12,017 g/plant (24063 lbs/acre).
  • In that same trial, marketable yield of ‘Von’ was 10,704 g/plant (21,434 lbs/acre). 
  • Fruit of ‘Von’ is medium size  (6.6 g) has smaller drupelet and seed size compared to other cultivars.
  • ‘Von’ produces fruit in the late season, with average date of harvest commencing in the third week of June, peaking in the second week of July and ending the first week of August. 
  • ‘Von’ has a marketable post harvest score of 90.6, which is as good or better than the leading commercial cultivars.
  • Soluble sugars content of ‘Von’ was 9.4% and pH was 3.57, traits that characterize ‘Von’ as sweet with low acid. 
I will be posting a list of nurseries that will be propagating 'Von' later this year. 

For list of nurseries propagating Von go to


  1. Gina, has any testing been done with Von in hot and humid environments, such as Alabama, Georgia or Mississippi? The reason I ask is by the first of July the heat (mid to high 90's) and humidity (dewpoints in the high 60s and low 70s) down here near Montgomery AL gets pretty toasty. I've tried late season blackberries before, Triple Crown and Doyle, and they both start ripening around the end of June and are cooked by the second week in July. Can I expect the same results with Von?

  2. We've tried it in southesatern NC and it did fine. I would start with just a small planting and see how they do.

  3. Do you know when they started ripening in SE NC?

  4. I have 6ea Apache, 15ea. Triple crown and 1ea Navaho, 4ea Natchez. Apache are okay, but some get white spots on some if the Berrys. Navaho is too small a berry, but has good taste. I planted Natchez because they ripen 3 Jun and are a large berry, but sugar content is 9.5% ( not the highest sugar content). But these Natchez were planted last year and will take another
    year to get any berries. These are the most important things to me when selecting a variety:
    1. Flavor 2. berry size (large) 3. when does it ripen? Triple Crown is my favorite due to its outstanding flavor/size. But I also recommend Natchez because it is a very early variety, large and it can extend my harvest season. I can pick berries from 3 Jun to 15 Aug with Natchez and Triple Crown planted.

  5. Gina - As of Mid October 2013 is there an update as to availability ?