Search for native plants by scientific name, common name or family. If you are not sure what you are looking for, try the Combination Search or our Recommended Species lists.
Search native plant database:
Rubus occidentalis L.
Black raspberry, Thimbleberry
Synonym(s): Rubus occidentalis var. pallidus
USDA Symbol: RUOC
USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)
A multi-stemmed shrub, 3-6 ft. tall and between 6-12 ft. wide. Commonly forms broad colonies. Long, slender, arching canes. Bark is purplish-red and armed with prickles. Blue-green summer foliage is palmately or pinnately compound, becoming yellowish in fall. Flat-topped clusters of five-petaled flowers are followed by round, raspberry-like, red berries which mature to black.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Shrub Leaf:
Black, Red Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White
Bloom Time: May , Jun
, WV Canada: NB
, QC Native Distribution:
& n.c. CO,
s. to GA, LA, OK
& KS Native Habitat:
Open woods; bluffs; thickets; stream banks; wet meadows, roadsides & pastures
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry , Moist
Soil pH: Acidic (pH<6.8)
CaCO3 Tolerance: High
Soil Description: Gravelly or sandy loams.
Conditions Comments: A number of horticultural varieties have been developed from this species.
BenefitUse Wildlife: Very high for songbirds, game birds, and large and small mammals.
Warning: Plant has thorns or prickles.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
PropagationDescription: Divisions, tip layering, and digging up suckers are the most common methods of propagation. Increase by seed is not as easy but is possible.
Seed Collection: Rubus fruits should be collected as soon as ripe to prevent losses to birds. The seeds can be extracted by macerating in water.
Seed Treatment: The hard, impermeable seed coat needs scarification. Both H2SO4 and sodium hypochlorite have been used. Scarification is sometimes followed by a complex combination of warm and cold stratification.
Commercially Avail: yes
Record Last Modified: 2012-06-30
Research By: TWC Staff