The blackcap raspberry is native between Quebec and Minnesota and south to Arkansas and Georgia. This useful plant is found in thickets, ravines and edges of forests, and is also cultivated as a horticultural plant. It has strong arched canes containing hooked spines. Now is the time to pick the dark-purple berries. Eating wild fruits that are firm, sweet, juicy, and have outstanding flavor is a rare pleasure, so once you find a patch of blackcap raspberries you need to return in a few days as more fruit is ripening.
Although most of us outdoor enthusiasts prefer to eat the blackcaps fresh as we pick them, the berries can be used in jam, jellies, juice, sherbet and ice cream, or they can be canned, frozen or dried. Dozens of bird species -- including ring-necked pheasants, grouse, northern cardinals and brown thrashers -- relish the fruit that is also popular with raccoons and chipmunks. These thorny brambles make impenetrable thickets where birds, rabbits and other animals can find some security.