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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