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Rubus hispidus

Common Name(s):
Bristly dewberry, Swamp dewberry
Native Plants, Perennials, Shrubs

Swamp dewberry is a native perennial shrub in the Roseaceae family. The stems are light green to red, angular or terete, and sparsely to moderately covered with bristly hairs. In addition, sometimes softer hairs and widely scattered small prickles are present along the stems.  It is a trailing species that is commonly found in wetland areas, disturbed habitats, forest edges, meadows, fields, and swamps.  The stems easily root at the tips forming new plants.

Regions:  Mountain, Piedmont, Coastal Plains

Seasons of Interest:  Spring, Summer

Wildlife Value: The flowers of Swamp Dewberry are visited primarily by bees, including both long-tongued and short-tongued bees. Other insects that may visit the flowers include Syrphid flies, bee flies, small butterflies, and skippers. Both nectar and pollen are available as floral rewards to such visitors. Many insects such as leaf beetles, aphids, leafhoppers, treehoppers, the larvae of sawflies, and the caterpillars of many moths feed on the leaves, stems, fruit, plant juices, and other parts of these woody plants.  The fruits are eaten by many species of songbirds. Many mammals also feed on the fruits of dewberries and other Rubus spp., including the Black Bear, Gray Fox, Red Fox, Raccoon, Opossum, Eastern Chipmunk, Red Squirrel, Gray Squirrel, Fox Squirrel, White-Footed Mouse, and Woodland Deer Mouse.

Spring, summer
2 ft.
Flower Color:
The Bristly dewberry has alternate three-parted (trifolate) compound leaves with coarsely toothed margins and many bristles. Individual leaflets ovate to obovate 1-2½" long and about one-half as much across. The upper leaflet surface is medium green, hairless, and somewhat shiny, while the lower surface is more pale and sometimes softly hairy.
Each white flower of the Bristly dewberry is ½-¾" across, with 5 petals, 5 light green sepals that are united at the base, a ring of numerous stamens, and a compound pistil at its center that is light green. The petals are oblong-elliptic in shape and the sepals are ovate and softly hairy. The blooming period occurs during early to mid-summer for about 3 weeks. Fruits are compound (aggregate) drupes 1/4" - 1/2" long, starting out green, moving to red, and finally dark purple when ripe.
Sun, light shade
Aggregate drupe
North America
8 ft.
wetland, wet soil, wet sites, bees, nectar, pollinator, perennial, wildlife, songbirds, wet

NCCES plant id: 3241

Rubus hispidus Rubus hispidus
Cliff, CC-BY-SA-3.0
Rubus hispidus Unripe fruit
Steven G. Johnson, CC-BY-SA-3.0