Mystery Berry Bush

(Question)

These plants are growing among our wild Blackberry bushes. We’ve tried to identify it but can’t find anything like it on line. Can you identify it for us. We also wanted to know if it is edible.
It looks like a variation of the Blackberry bush but the Vareigated leaves are not normal.
I do have a couple more pictures if this one doesn’t help.  Pictures now included.

 

(Answer)

Thank you for your interesting and challenging inquiry.

It is hard to say with certainty what it is about your mistery plant. It could be that leaf variegation has occurred in one of the wild blackberry plants. It could also be that the white variegated blackberry cultivar Rubus fruticosus ‘Variegatus‘ has escaped into the wild blackberries.

Variegation in plants is caused by chimera, a naturally occurring mutation. To learn more about this go to this article by Texas A & M .

However, looking closely at your pictures one gets the impression that this is not a completely healthy plant. The yellowing edges, are there yellow spots on some leaves, too?, the curling up of some of the leave edges, and the greyish looking leaves could indicate a viral or fungal disease. Wild blackberries seem to frequently harbor disease.

In case you need/want to know if this is a disease you could contact the Pest Diagnostic Clinic at the University of Guelph and eventually send in a sample. However, call beforehand to make sure if this is worth the effort, how the sampling is done correctly, and to get information about the cost.

Hopefully this helps!