Blackberry belongs to the genus Rubus subgenus Rubus, in which there are several hundred floricane and primocane species. They became the basis for breeding new cultivars. Blackberry breeding is currently carried out in 14 countries around the world (Great Britain, Germany, Scotland, Poland, Serbia, Sweden, Switzerland, Romania, USA, New Zealand, Australia, China, Chile). The greatest progress in breeding of the new varieties of blackberries has been made in the United States of America (USA). There were obtained many valuable floricane and primocane varieties. Currently, the blackberry is the fourth-largest cultivated species in the world (after strawberry, raspberry and blueberry).
The Polish blackberry breeding program was established in 1979 year by Dr. Jan Danek. As a result of the conducted works, several thornless varieties were entered into the National Register (including Orkan, Polar, Ruczaj, Gaj). The new, noteworthy varieties (e.g., Gracja) are under temporary legal protection. This program has been continued at Niwa since 2012 under the supervision of Dr. Agnieszka Orzeł.
Blackberry breeding in Niwa is co-financed by the National Center for Research and Development under the UE projects.The aim of the first project is to obtain primocane and floricane varieties of blackberries for mechanical harvesting.The aim of second one is to obtain varieties for fresh market suitable for cultivation in the climatic conditions of our country. As a result of the conducted works, several dozen breeding clones were selected for further reproduction and evaluation, the best of which will be assessed in the cultivar and comparative experiments in tunnel cultivation, under canopies and in field cultivation without covers.