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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.

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Rubus ursinus

Rubus ursinus Cham. & Schltdl.

California Blackberry, California Dewberry, Western Blackberry

Rosaceae (Rose Family)



USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)

A mounding shrub or vine with bristly, running stems; large, trifoliate leaves; and clusters of white flowers near the tips of lateral shoots. The flowers differ from those of other blackberries because of their widely spaced, narrow petals. Flowers are followed by edible, black berries. Ranges from 2-5 ft. high and more than 6 ft. wide.

The Trailing Blackberry is a member of the family Rosaceae which includes about 2000 species of trees, shrubs, and herbs worldwide; approximately 77 native and 9 naturalized tree species and many species of shrubs and herbs in North America; including service-berries (Amelanchier), hawthorns (Crataegus), apples (Malus), plums and cherries (Prunus), and mountain-ashes (Sorbus).


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Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Subshrub
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Leaf Complexity: Trifoliate
Fruit Type: Aggregate , Drupe
Size Notes: Up to about 5 feet tall when shrub-like.
Leaf: Green
Fruit: Black, aggregated drupelets.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White
Bloom Time: Jan , Feb , Mar , Apr , May , Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep


USA: CA , ID , MT , OR , WA
Canada: BC
Native Distribution: B.C. & ID to Sanders Co., MT, s. to Baja through cismontane CA
Native Habitat: Variable; below 3000 ft.

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist , Wet
CaCO3 Tolerance: Medium
Soil Description: Moist soils.
Conditions Comments: Fast and easy to grow. Good for revegetation. Too rank for most residential sites.


Use Wildlife: Very high for songbirds, game birds, and large and small mammals.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes

Value to Beneficial Insects

Special Value to Native Bees
Special Value to Bumble Bees
Provides Nesting Materials/Structure for Native Bees

This information was provided by the Pollinator Program at The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.


Description: Divisions, tip layering, and digging up suckers are the most common methods of propagation. Increase by seed is tricky but 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

Find Seed or Plants

Find seed sources for this species at the Native Seed Network.

View propagation protocol from Native Plants Network.

National Wetland Indicator Status

Status: FAC FACU
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 on display at the following locations:

Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR

Web Reference

Webref 30 - Calflora (2018) Calflora
Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 36 - Jepson eFlora (2019) The Jepson Herbarium, University of California, Berkeley
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Additional resources

USDA: Find Rubus ursinus in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Rubus ursinus in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Rubus ursinus


Record Modified: 2022-12-12
Research By: TWC Staff

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