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Rubus_fruticosus - L.

Common Name Blackberry, Shrubby blackberry
Family Rosaceae
USDA hardiness 5-9
Known Hazards None known
Habitats A very common and adaptable plant, found in hedgerows, woodland, meadows, waste ground etc[17, 244].
Range Europe, including Britain, to the Mediterraneanand Macaronesia.
Edibility Rating    (5 of 5)
Other Uses    (2 of 5)
Weed Potential Yes
Medicinal Rating    (3 of 5)
Care (info)
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Full shade Semi-shade Full sun
Rubus_fruticosus Blackberry, Shrubby blackberry

Rubus_fruticosus Blackberry, Shrubby blackberry


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Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of shrub
Rubus_fruticosus is a deciduous Shrub growing to 3 m (9ft) by 3 m (9ft) at a fast rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 6 and is not frost tender. It is in leaf from March to November, in flower from May to September, and the seeds ripen from July to October. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Insects, Apomictic (reproduce by seeds formed without sexual fusion). The plant is self-fertile.
It is noted for attracting wildlife.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils and can grow in very acid and very alkaline soils.
It can grow in full shade (deep woodland) semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil and can tolerate drought. The plant can tolerates strong winds but not maritime exposure.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Plant Habitats

Edible Uses

Fruit - raw or cooked[5, 7, 9, 12, 183]. The best forms have delicious fruits and, with a range of types, it is possible to obtain ripe fruits from late July to November[K]. The fruit is also made into syrups, jams and other preserves[238]. Some people find that if they eat the fruit before it is very ripe and quite soft then it can give them stomach upsets[K]. Root - cooked. The root should be neither to young nor too old and requires a lot of boiling[7]. A tea is made from the dried leaves[21] - the young leaves are best[61]. The leaves are often used in herbal tea blends[238]. Young shoots - raw. They are harvested as they emerge through the ground in the spring, peeled and then eaten in salads[244].

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

The root-bark and the leaves are strongly astringent, depurative, diuretic, tonic and vulnerary[4, 7, 9, 165, 254]. They make an excellent remedy for dysentery, diarrhoea, haemorrhoids, cystitis etc, the root is the more astringent[4, 238]. Externally, they are used as a gargle to treat sore throats, mouth ulcers and gum inflammations[238, 254]. A decoction of the leaves is useful as a gargle in treating thrush and also makes a good general mouthwash[7].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

A purple to dull blue dye is obtained from the fruit[168]. A fibre is obtained from the stem and used to make twine[66]. Plants are spread by seed deposited in the droppings of birds and mammals. They often spring up in burnt-over, logged or abandoned land and make an excellent pioneer species, creating the right conditions for woodland trees to move in. The trees will often grow in the middle of a clump of blackberries, the prickly stems protecting them from rabbits[K].

Special Uses

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Easily grown in a good well-drained loamy soil[1, 11, 200]. Succeeds in acid and calcareous soils[186]. Tolerates poor soils[202]. Established plants are drought resistant[132]. Succeeds in sun or semi-shade[1, 11, 200], though it fruits less well in the shade[202]. Plants will also fruit when grown in fairly deep shade or against a north facing wall, though the fruit will ripen later[219]. Plants tolerate quite severe exposure[186]. Hardy to at least -18°c[202]. R. fruticosus is an aggregate species made up of several hundred slightly differing species. The reason for this is that most seed is produced by a non-sexual method (Apomixis) and is therefore genetically identical to the parent plant. On occasions when sexual production of seed takes place the offspring will all be slightly different from the parent plant and will then usually reproduce as a new species by means of apomixy. Modern treatment of this aggregate usually does not use the name R. fruticosus because of the confusion over which species it should apply to, the type species of the aggregate should be called R. ulmifolius[150]. The following members of the aggregate have been highly recommended for their fruit[150]. R. badius. R. cyclophorus. R. gratus. R. nemoralis. R. oxyanchus. R. pyramidalis. R. separinus. R. winteri. The following members are said to be nearly as good. R. balfourianus. R. broensis. R. carpinifolius. R. foliosus. R. fuscoviridis. R. infestus. R. insericatus newbouldianus. R. koehleri. R. largificus. R. londinensis. R. ludensis. R. macrophyllus. R. obscurus. R. pseudo-bifrons. R. rhombifolius. R. riddelsdellii. R. scaber. R. thyrsiflorus. R. vallisparsus. R. vestitus. Plants form dense thickets and this makes excellent cover for birds[186]. They regenerate freely after being cut back[186]. This species is also a good plant for bees and butterflies[24]. This species has biennial stems, it produces a number of new stems each year from the perennial rootstock, these stems fruit in their second year and then die[200]. Plants in this genus are notably susceptible to honey fungus[200]. For polyculture design as well as the above-ground architecture (form - tree, shrub etc. and size shown above) information on the habit and root pattern is also useful and given here if available. The plant growth habit is a running thicket former forming a colony from shoots away from the crown spreading indefinitely [1-2]. The root pattern is suckering with new plants from underground runners away from the plant [1-2].

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

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Plant Propagation

Seed - requires stratification and is best sown in early autumn in a cold frame. Stored seed requires one month stratification at about 3°c and is best sown as early as possible in the year. Prick out the seedlings when they are large enough to handle and grow on in a cold frame. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring of the following year. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame[200]. Tip layering in July. Plant out in autumn. Division in early spring or just before leaf-fall in the autumn[200].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Alish, Baganrra, Blackberry, Bramble, Chanch, Pakana, Rovo, Scepe, Spino, Szeder,

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Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Africa, Asia, Australia, Balkans, Bosnia, Britain, Europe, Greece, Hungary, India, Italy, Kosovo, Lithuania, Norfolk Island, Pakistan, Romania, South Africa, Southern Africa, Swaziland, Tasmania, USA,

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Rubus fruticosusBlackberry, Shrubby blackberryShrub3.0 5-9 FLMHFSNM532

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


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Botanical References


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Readers comment

   Tue Jun 13 2006

This plant has grown out of control in the undergrowth of our garden and now that we have cut back our shrubs we have found it difficult to control the growth of these thorny canes. They are sprouting up everywhere and we have small children in the garden and are worried. Would a week killer kill these prickly canes off.

The Jolly Roger   Sun May 6 2007

You have no need to worry about your children, these are blackberry vines, not gestapos. Also I would think that if that didn't kill them, it would at least kill week.

Phil Brough   Sun Mar 2 2008

I have just planted rubus fruticosus and dont know if I have to prune immediately after planting - any advice

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