Official State Fruit of Alabama
Alabama designated the blackberry (Rubus, R. occidentalis) as the official state fruit in 2004 after a campaign led by the third graders at Fairhope Elementary School (guided by teachers Susan Sims and Amy Jones). The peach has also been officially recognized as the state tree fruit of Alabama in 2006.
Most states recognize food symbols; besides the peach and blackberry, Alabama also designates a state nut and state BBQ championship. We also have national commemorative holidays for American foods and native cuisine.
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.