Collaboration creates Marion, the berry delicious


In western Oregon, in late August, it’s hard to believe that there’s anything better than the taste of wild blackberries. But, there is. Working through the postwar years, George Waldo, a berry breeder with the U.S. Department of Agriculture working with Agricultural Experiment Station horticulturists, introduced a superior blackberry and named it after Marion County, where the berry had been extensively tested.

The marionberry is a magic blend of Oregon’s native blackberry, Rubus ursinus, with some R. armeniacus (the weedy Himalaya introduced from Europe in the late 1800s), and a bit of red raspberry. It grows on long trailing vines with fruit that is considered to be tastier and juicier than other blackberries.

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Marionberries. (Photo courtesy of