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Rubus canadensis

Common Name(s):
Smooth blackberry
Edible Plants, Native Plants, Shrubs

The Genus Rubus, which includes Blackberry, Dewberry, and Raspberry contain several species that differ sometimes only slightly, some of whic are erect or arching shrubs up to 8' high.  Other species trail along the ground and are vinelike.  Most plants have thorny or bristly stmes, and all but one species in North Carolina has compound leaves.  New shoots seldon have flowers or fruits, however the second year the branches will flower and fruit.  Typically, the "dewberries" produce fruits in the spring, and the 'blackberries or raspberries' during the summer.

Smooth blackberry has almost compiletely smooth stems  free of prickles and spines. Even the leaves are smooth, with few hairs on the underside.  It spreads by rhizomes which are typically found about 3 to 4 inches below the surface. Because it grows well in relatively barren conditions and sprouts after fire, smooth blackberry is used for reclaiming disturbed areas.  It is and understory plant commonly found on forest edges, in meadows and fields, ridges or ledges, shores of rivers or lakes, shrublands thickets, and wetland margins.   Its range extends from Newfoundland to Ontario and along the Atlantic Coast south to Georgia and inland to Kentucky and Tennessee.  It is present in mature spruce-fir forests in North Carolina.

Regions:  Mountain, Piedmont, Coastal Plains

Seasons of Interest:

    Bloom:  Spring, May-June     Fruit: Early summer-September

Wildlife Value: Dense colonies of these shrubs provide excellent cover for nesting birds. The canes create nearly impenetrable thickets where birds, rabbits, and other animals hide. Game birds, songbirds, raccoons, chipmunks, and squirrels eat the fruits. The nectar and pollen of the flowers attract many kinds of insects, especially long-tongued and short-tongued bees. This plant is moderately resistant to damage from deer.  It provides excellent cover year round.  Butterflies and other insects are attracted to the blooms.  The fruits are relished by songbirds, small mammals, foxes, racoons and black bears.  During the winter, birds and small mammals eat the seeds left from rotten fruit.  White-tailed deer and rabbits browse the leaves.  This Genus contains some of the most important plants for wildlife in the southeast.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems: The smooth stems are excessively browsed by deer and rabbits,   It is very intolerant of shade.  It can become aggressive and be difficult to eliminate; the use of herbicides may be required on some occasions.

10 ft.
Alternate compound leaves are 4 to 8 inches long.
Numerous 5 petaled white flowers are borne in clusters of up to 25. The fruit is an aggregate of small drupes, each containing a single hard-pitted nutlet.
Smooth blackberry has good erosion control value. It grows satisfactorily on barren and infertile soils and also establishes quickly on burns, old fields, and logged areas.
Erect, arching
Full sun
Aggregate drupe
The fruit of all species of blackberries can be eaten fresh or frozen and used to make desserts and sweet liqueurs.
cover, erosion, nectar, deciduous, nesting, wildlife

NCCES plant id: 3231

Rubus canadensis Fruit
Quinn Dombrowski, CC-BY-SA-3.0
Rubus canadensis Rubus canadensis
Quinn Dombrowsk, CC-BY-SA-3.0