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Rubus occidentalis

Phonetic Spelling
ROO-bus ock-sih-den-TAH-liss
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..   

Rubus occidentalis, or Black raspberry, is a native, deciduous perennial shrub in the Roseaceae family. It is common in the mountains, but scarce in the Piedmont and coastal plain of North Carolina. It can be found specifically along roadsides, in woodlands, and disturbed areas. If planted in sites that are sunny and dry, the fruit may not develop properly without adequate rain. The canes also fail to set fruit if there is too much shade. The canes start out growing erect to about 6 feet long in the first year, but eventually arch sideways and down and can reach the ground. Rubus occidentalis prefers partial sun and moist, highly organic soil. This plant is heat tolerant.

Black raspberry is moderately resistant to damage from deer. It provides excellent cover year round. Butterflies and other insects are attracted to the blooms and the fruits are eaten 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.

Diseases, Insects, and Other Plant Problems:

Other than honey fungus, to which most Rubus species are susceptible, there are no known problems.

 

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#bees#perennial#wildlife plant#nectar plant#native shrub#flavorful fruit#NC native#deer resistant#turtles#edible fruits#pollinator plant#NC Native Pollinator Plant#food source nectar#food source pollen#urban conditions tolerant#bird friendly#nectar plant late spring#mammals#food source soft mast fruit#butterfly friendly#nectar plant early summer#nectar plant mid-spring#butterflies#pollinators#pollinator garden#birds#audubon#woodlands
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#bees#perennial#wildlife plant#nectar plant#native shrub#flavorful fruit#NC native#deer resistant#turtles#edible fruits#pollinator plant#NC Native Pollinator Plant#food source nectar#food source pollen#urban conditions tolerant#bird friendly#nectar plant late spring#mammals#food source soft mast fruit#butterfly friendly#nectar plant early summer#nectar plant mid-spring#butterflies#pollinators#pollinator garden#birds#audubon#woodlands
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Rubus
    Species:
    occidentalis
    Family:
    Rosaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    Flavorful fruit can be eaten raw or cooked as a topping, filling, or jam. It is of variable quality, with the finest forms having a rich acid flavor. Young shoots can be eaten raw or cooked like rhubarb. They are harvested as they emerge through the soil in the spring while they are still tender, and then peeled. A tea is made from the leaves or from the bark of the root.
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Stem Cutting
    Wildlife Value:
    This plant provides nectar for pollinators. Excellent cover for small mammals and birds. Blooms attract pollinators. Fruits are eaten by songbirds, mammals, and black bears. During the winter, birds and small mammals eat the seeds left from rotted fruit.
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    Moderately resistent to deer.
    Edibility:
    The fleshy fruits are sweet and slightly tart in flavor; they detach cleanly and easily from their receptacles. Excellent flavor.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 3 ft. 0 in. - 6 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 4 ft. 0 in. - 8 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Edible
    Native Plant
    Perennial
    Shrub
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Arching
    Erect
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Appendage:
    Prickles
    Thorns
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    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:
    High Organic Matter
    Soil Drainage:
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    4a, 4b, 5b, 5a, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8b, 8a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Black
    Red/Burgundy
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Summer
    Fruit Type:
    Drupe
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    This compound drupe is initially white, later becomes red, and finally turns black-purple when it is mature. Each drupe consists of multiple drupelets, each drupelet containing a single seed. Fruits are available June-July.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Cyme
    Raceme
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Summer
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Not very showy. White, five-petaled flowers. Second year canes develop short branches that terminate in flowers. Flowers bloom from April to June.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Type:
    Compound (Pinnately , Bipinnately, Palmately)
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Cordate
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Doubly Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Trifoliate, alternate leaves with toothed margins.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Green
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Surface:
    Covered with a powdery bloom (glaucous)
    Stem Description:
    Canes are initially green, hairless, and glaucous, but later turn brown and woody during the winter. Scattered along the length of each cane are prickles that are short and curved. The powdery bloom on the stem can give it a ghostly white appearance.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Native Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Butterflies
    Pollinators
    Small Mammals
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Heat