Division develops first thornless primocane blackberry


FAYETTEVILLE — Prime-Ark® Freedom, a new variety developed by the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, is the world’s first thornless primocane-fruiting blackberry.

Freedom is the fourth in the division’s Prime-Ark® line of primocane-fruiting blackberries, which flower and fruit on each season’s new branches, called primocanes, said John R. Clark, Division of Agriculture fruit breeder. Most blackberries only bear fruit on second-season canes, known as floricanes.

“This unique type of blackberry fruits on current-season canes and second-season canes, potentially providing for two cropping seasons,” Clark said.

“Prime-Ark® Freedom is an exciting development as it is the first thornless plant of this blackberry type released for commercial introduction in the world,” Clark said. “Its potential to produce two crops each year, both being early to very early in ripening, is another unique attribute of this cultivar. Its exceptional fruit size should make it a very noteworthy blackberry for home gardeners or local-market growers.”

“It has very large berries with good flavor,” Clark said

Freedom follows the release of Prime-Jan and Prime-Jim in 2004 and Prime-Ark® 45 in 2009. All of the prior-released cultivars are thorny.

Although initial evaluations for postharvest storage potential indicate that Prime-Ark® Freedom is not well-suited for storage and shipping, it should be very desirable for use in home gardens and local commercial markets, Clark said.

Freedom will be available from nurseries licensed in the U.S. and other countries for propagation. A list of these can be attained from Clark via email at jrclark@uark.edu.

Information about all fruit varieties and sources of plants is available from the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture and can be found online at http://www.aragriculture.org/horticulture/fruits_nuts/default.htm.