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Swamp Dewberry Rubus hispidus

Other Common Name(s):

Phonetic Spelling
ROO-bus HISS-pih-dus
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 season’s 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.

Swamp dewberry, is a native perennial shrub in the Rose family with branching woody vines and trailing stems up to 8' long. Rather than arching canes, dewberries produce trailing stems that creep along the ground. The stems can root at the tips forming new plants.  It is commonly found in wetland areas, disturbed habitats, forest edges, meadows, fields, and swamps. In NC it is primarily found in the coastal plains and the mountains and is rare in the Piedmont. The stems easily root at the tips forming new plants. 

The flowers of Swamp Dewberry are visited primarily by bees, including both long-tongued and short-tongued bees. The fruits are eaten by many species of songbirds and mammals. The summer berries have a sour flavor and the plant is generally not cultivated.

Diseases, Insects, and Other Plant Problems:

Plants in this genus are notably susceptible to honey fungus.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#bees#partial shade#perennial#shrub#wildlife plant#partial sun#nectar plant#wetlands#wet sites#native garden#edible fruits#pollinator plant#bird friendly#mammals
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#bees#partial shade#perennial#shrub#wildlife plant#partial sun#nectar plant#wetlands#wet sites#native garden#edible fruits#pollinator plant#bird friendly#mammals
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Rubus
    Species:
    hispidus
    Family:
    Rosaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    A dull blue dye can be created from its berries
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Seed
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    North America
    Wildlife Value:
    Flowers, fruit, and leaves feed multiple pollinators, birds, and small to large mammals.
    Edibility:
    Fruit can be consumed raw or cooked. It can have a sour flavor and is mainly used in preserves.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Native Plant
    Perennial
    Shrub
    Habit/Form:
    Creeping
    Spreading
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Appendage:
    Prickles
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Dappled Sunlight (Shade through upper canopy all day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    High Organic Matter
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Occasionally Wet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    3a, 3b, 4b, 4a, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7b, 7a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Black
    Purple/Lavender
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Fruit Type:
    Aggregate
    Drupe
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    Fruits start out green, moving to red, and finally dark purple when ripe.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Cyme
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Cup
    Saucer
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Each white flower is 1/2-3/4 inches wide with 5 petals, 5 light green sepals united at the base, numerous stamens, and a light green compound pistil at its center. Petals are softly hairy.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Gray/Silver
    Green
    Leaf Type:
    Compound (Pinnately , Bipinnately, Palmately)
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Obovate
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Crenate
    Doubly Crenate
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Width:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Description:
    Alternate three-parted (trifolate) compound leaves with coarsely toothed margins and many bristles. The upper leaflet surface is medium green, hairless, and somewhat shiny, while the lower surface is more pale and sometimes softly hairy.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Green
    Red/Burgundy
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Bud Scales:
    No scales, covered in hair
    Stem Surface:
    Hairy (pubescent)
    Stem Description:
    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.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Naturalized Area
    Pond
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Edible Garden
    Attracts:
    Pollinators
    Small Mammals
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Wet Soil