Alabama designated blackberry (Rubus, R. occidentalis) as the official state fruit symbol in 2004 after a campaign led by the third graders at Fairhope Elementary School (guided by teachers Susan Sims and Amy Jones). Alabama also recognized the peach as official tree fruit in 2006.
The blackberry is an especially hardy plant that prefers deep rich loam and bright sun, but it will flourish in sandy soils with partial shade too. The flowers can self-pollinate, but pollination by bumblebees and honeybees produces more fruit.
Blackberries are delicious right off the vine and also make wonderful pies, jellies, jams and numerous other desserts. They also provide an important source of food and cover for animals and many species of birds.
Most states recognize food or agricultural symbols - besides the peach and blackberry, Alabama also designates a state nut and state barbeque championship. We also have national commemorative holidays for American foods and native cuisine (including our native blueberry and cranberry).
The Song of the Blackberry Queen
by Cicely Mary Barker
My berries cluster black and thick
For rich and poor alike to pick.
I'll tear your dress, and cling, and tease,
And scratch your hand and arms and knees.
I'll stain your fingers and your face,
And then I'll laugh at your disgrace.
But when the bramble-jelly's made,
You'll find your trouble well repaid.