Dewberry vines are pesky as they tend to pop up everywhere in sandy lawns, and require gloves for removal because of thorns. For this reason, we could call this a weed. However, if you let them grow in an area you are willing to sacrifice to them, you will be rewarded with berries! We discovered dewberries growing on our property several years ago and started picking them. It seems the more you pick, the more berries you have growing back the next year.
Dewberry vines like to grow in sandy soil, along roadsides, and near the edges of woods. Dewberries look very similar to a blackberry when ripe, but have a slightly different taste. Dewberries also grow on a trailing vine along the ground whereas blackberries typically grow on a tall stalk. Dewberries can be eaten raw and used for the same recipes as blackberries and other berries. We have put them in pancakes, fruit crisp, and homemade jam.
Don’t be alarmed by the “leaves of three” on the dewberry vine. To be sure it’s not poison ivy, look for pickers or thorns. Poison ivy never has thorns, but dewberries have lots of very small thorns. The thorns easily poke into the skin and sometimes break off, leaving you with a tiny splinter that continues to burn until you remove it. To prevent this, try wearing gloves and long pants. The berries are very tender when ripe and will easily stain skin and clothing. Also be aware of the types of “creepy-crawlies” you have in your area and take proper precautions before and during foraging — tuck pant legs into socks, wear bug/tick repellent, and be watchful of spiders (though they want nothing to do with you!).