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Bransford, W.D. and Dolphia
Rubus parviflorus Nutt.
Thimbleberry, Western thimble-berry
USDA Symbol: rupa
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.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Shrub Leaf:
Red Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White
Bloom Time: May , Jun , Jul , Aug
, WY Canada: AB
, ON Native Distribution:
Ont. to n. MN
s. to mts. of NM, AZ
& CA Native Habitat:
Open, wooded hillsides; stream banks; canyons
Growing ConditionsWater Use: High
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry , Moist
CaCO3 Tolerance: High
Soil Description: Rocky soils.
Conditions Comments: Not Available
BenefitUse Wildlife: Valuable to songbirds, game birds, and large and small mammals.
Warning: Plant has thorns or prickles.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA)
is a larval host and/or nectar source for:
National Wetland Indicator Status
This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1
(Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here
for map of regions.
From the National Organizations Directory
According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is either on display or available from the following:
Santa Barbara Botanic Garden
- Santa Barbara, CANative Seed Network
- Corvallis, OR
Record Last Modified: 2010-05-01
Research By: TWC Staff