How did you get on yesterday? Did you guess that it was Silvanberry? I would let you win if you had said blackberry or loganberry as well though the flowers are subtly different!


Silvanberries are my favourite hybrid berry. It has large flowers that are almost as attractive as any climber, ripens earlier than most, a month earlier than most blackberries and it crops really heavily with large red berries that ripen to almost black. But best of all is the taste. They are sweeter than blackberries, are juicy and acidic too and have a really complex, rich taste. This is not surprising since they are a complex hybrid.

Raised in Australia in the 1970s in the town of Silvan (are things starting to fall into place?) it is a hybrid of a Marionberry (which is common in the NW USA where I have eaten it and can conform that it is delicious – and it is apparently even higher in antioxidants than blackcurrants) and an unnamed hybrid of the Boysenberry (a cross between a raspberry and a blackberry) and the Pacific berry (Rubus ursinus). No wonder it has a complex taste.


When growing it, make sure it has enough space – it is very vigorous and, in year one, the canes can grow to 7m long! These need to be tied into the horizontal wires as soon as the previous canes have fruited and have been cut out. You can see the new canes growing above. The great vigour means big crops but there is a slight problem and that is the thorns which are profuse and sharp! Even so, I would rather grow this than any of the thornless fruits available simply because it is early, so can be combined with strawberries and even rhubarb if necessary, and because they taste good enough to eat raw – and I have a low acid threshold! Cropping is over a couple of weeks but you can do lots of things with the berries, such as jams and cordials or just freezing them to pop into smoothies throughout the year. Last year I boiled some and strained the juice to make some very nice Silvanberry frozen yoghurt and ice cream.

And the other berries are starting to bloom too. Below is a cultivated blackberry…

blackberry fls

And this is the loganberry.


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10 Comments on “Silvanberry”

  1. derrickjknight
    May 31, 2016 at 9:19 am #

    I’d never heard of these,

  2. srerridge
    May 31, 2016 at 10:23 am #

    I should have got that, especially as I live with its thorns in my hands most of the year.

  3. Henk Spit
    April 26, 2020 at 4:45 pm #

    Thanks for your information! Do you perhaps have tricks & tips for raising a silvanberry from seed? I just order some seeds from Australia, since the plant itself is not for sale in the Netherlands and I would really like to have this specie in my garden! With kind regards, Henk

    • thebikinggardener
      April 27, 2020 at 3:29 pm #

      In theory ‘Silvanberry’ will not come true form seed so I am not sure what you will get from your seeds. I do not think that the seeds will need to be stratified so they should germinate readily.

  4. Peter
    December 14, 2022 at 11:52 am #

    Its a hybrid,seedlings don’t work.
    Mine just finishing cropping,but to cut them down straight after harvest or wait till winter?
    Growing berries and motorcycles,I agree.
    Regards peter,south coast nsw

    • thebikinggardener
      December 14, 2022 at 1:38 pm #

      Because it is so vigorous and the new growth rapidly become a problem I tend to prune out the old stems as soon as I have picked. It just helps to train in the new stems. Hope all is well in NSW

      • Peter
        January 22, 2023 at 2:42 am #

        So,I just went out and the thorny mess was too much,so I cut the lot out.
        So see how much new growth I get.
        Sweaty work here on the humid coast,4 weeks past the solstice.
        The growing period will go on to mild frost round the winter solstice.
        The cicardas are just starting up.
        Picked heaps into the freezer from about 5 or 6 metres of row with mild wet spring and summer.
        Cheers peter.

        • thebikinggardener
          January 22, 2023 at 11:57 am #

          Well we are still in the grips of a wet winter. If you cut everything back you will get masses of new shoots but probably a lot less fruit this season but it will be worth it in the long term. you still have time for regrowth so those late new shoots may crop next summer. It is a bit of a prickly monster but the fruits are so delicious and useful. I hope it does well and happy gardening.

          • Peter
            January 23, 2023 at 8:16 am #

            They say on the communist media the warmest winter but not the wettest.
            Water in the soil absorbs earth radiation and warms the soil would you believe.
            Or do the leprechauns and fairy’s do it?

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