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Rubus occidentalis

Common Name(s):
Black raspberry
Edible Plants, Native Plants, Perennials, Shrubs

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

Black raspberry is a native perennial shrub in the Roseaceae family.  It is found in woodlands, woodland borders, thickets, fence rows, overgrown vacant lots, powerline clearances, and partially shaded areas along buildings. Black Raspberry adapts well to human-related disturbance. The canes start out growing erect but eventually arch and can reach the ground.  First-year canes (primocanes) are vegetative and do not produce fruits.  

Regions:  Mountain, Piedmont, Coastal plains

Seasons of Interest: 

  Blooms:  Spring            Nut/Fruit/Seed:  Summer

Wildlife Value:   This plant is moderately resistant to damage from deer. It provides excellent cover year round.  Butterflies and other insects are attracted to the blooms.  Its fruits are relished by songbirds, small mammals, foxes, raccoons, and black bears.  During the winter, birds and small mammals eat the seeds left from rotted fruit. White-tailed deer and rabbits browse the leaves.  This Genus contains some of the most important plants for wildlife in the Southeast.


6 ft.
Flower Color:
The Rubus occidentalis has trifoliate, alternate leaves with toothed margins.
Rubus occidentalis is not very showy. It has white, five-petaled flowers.
Rubus occidentalis prefers partial sunand moist, high organic matter soil.
Rich, loamy
The Rubus occidentalis has an excellent flavor fruit.
woodland, flavorful fruit, urban, nectar, pollinator, wildlife, songbirds, butterflies

NCCES plant id: 3246

Rubus occidentalis Fruit, unripe (red), ripe (black)
Alina Zienowicz, CC-BY-SA-3.0
Rubus occidentalis Rubus occidentalis
Karen Hine, CC-BY-SA-3.0
Rubus occidentalis Flower
Jennifer Anderson. United States, IA, Muscatine Co., Muscatine, Wild Cat Den State Park.