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American Dewberry Rubus canadensis

Other Common Name(s):

Phonetic Spelling
ROO-bus ka-na-DEN-sis
Description

The Genus Rubus includes blackberry, dewberry, and raspberry and most members of the Genus share the traits of thorny or bristly stems and compound leaves. Also, flowers and fruit appear on last seasons canes (branches), seldom on new shoots, which means one must be cautious when pruning and not remove the canes that will yield next year's berries. There are differences, however, among species; for example, some are erect or arching shrubs up to 8 feet high and others trail on the ground like vines. Some, such as dewberries, produce fruits in the spring while blackberries and raspberries fruit during the summer. In general, Genus Rubus contains some of the most important plants for wildlife in the southeast.

Rubus canadensis, or Smooth blackberry, has almost completely smooth stems that are free of prickles and spines. Leaves are smooth with few hairs on the underside. The fruit is edible raw or cooked in pies or jams and is sweet, juicy and richly flavored compared to other species of blackberries.The plant 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 an 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 and is common at high elevations in the mountains.

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.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:

Plants in this genus are notably susceptible to honey fungus. That said, this plant has no known insect or disease problems, but it can become aggressive and difficult to eliminate. Because it is so successful and can spread easily, use caution when selecting a planting site. Herbicides may be required to completely eliminate the plant.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#bees#deciduous#shrub#wildlife plant#nectar plant#cover plant#erosion control#deer resistant#native garden#edible fruits#nesting sites#food source summer#food source nectar#food source pollen#mammals#food source soft mast fruit#butterflies#pollinators#birds#audubon
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#bees#deciduous#shrub#wildlife plant#nectar plant#cover plant#erosion control#deer resistant#native garden#edible fruits#nesting sites#food source summer#food source nectar#food source pollen#mammals#food source soft mast fruit#butterflies#pollinators#birds#audubon
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Rubus
    Species:
    canadensis
    Family:
    Rosaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    Fruit can be eaten raw or cooked in pies and jams. Sweet, juicy and richly flavoured, it is generally preferred to most other species of blackberries. The fruit can be pressed into cakes and then dried for later use. The fruit can be up to an inch long.
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Eastern North America
    Wildlife Value:
    This Genus contains some of the most important plants for wildlife in the southeast.
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    Moderately resistent to deer. Heat tolerant.
    Edibility:
    The fruit of all species of blackberries can be eaten fresh or frozen and used to make desserts and sweet liqueurs.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 7 ft. 0 in. - 10 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 6 ft. 0 in. - 12 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Edible
    Native Plant
    Shrub
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Arching
    Erect
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Low
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Deep shade (Less than 2 hours to no direct sunlight)
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Shallow Rocky
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    NC Region:
    Mountains
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    3a, 3b, 4b, 4a, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7b, 7a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Black
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Summer
    Fruit Type:
    Drupe
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    The fruit is an aggregate of small drupes, each containing a single hard-pitted nutlet. In aggregate, the fruit can measure up to an inch long. Fruits display from July to August.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    White
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Description:
    Numerous 5 petaled white flowers are borne in clusters of up to 25. The plant produces apomictic flowers, these produce fruit and viable seed without fertilization, each seedling is a genetic copy of the parent. Flowers bloom from June to July.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Smooth
    Leaf Type:
    Compound (Pinnately , Bipinnately, Palmately)
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Alternate compound leaves are 4 to 8 inches long. Smooth with few hairs on the underside.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Buds:
    Smooth/Hairless
    Stem Surface:
    Smooth (glabrous)
    Stem Description:
    Stems are free of prickles and spines.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Edible Garden
    Native Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Design Feature:
    Barrier
    Hedge
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Butterflies
    Pollinators
    Small Mammals
    Songbirds