Western thimble-berry is an erect, unarmed, shrub, 1 1/2-5 ft. tall with gray, flaking bark; strong, flexible stems; large, shiny, maple-like, deciduous leaves; terminal clusters of white (sometimes pink-tinged) flowers; and red, raspberry-like fruit. Erect, unarmed shrub with palmately lobed leaves and raspberrylike fruits.
The genus Rubus, Latin name meaning “bramble,” includes cultivated raspberries and blackberries, as well as a host of wild species, including more than a dozen native to western North America. Thimbleberry derives its name from the shape of its fruit. The species name parviflorus means “small-flowered,” a curious choice for this shrub, whose flowers are among the largest in the genus. The fruits are important seasonal food for numerous birds and mammals, including bears, and are a welcome, if not inspired, trailside snack. Wild Red Raspberry (R. idaeus) has much smaller flowers, prickles on stem, and compound leaves with 3 or 5 leaflets, Black Raspberry (R. leucodermis) has recurved thorns, small white flowers whose sepals are longer than the petals, compound leaves, and black fruits.
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Find seed sources for this species at the Native Seed Network.
View propagation protocol from Native Plants Network.
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