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Flowering Raspberry (Rubus odoratus L.)


By David Taylor

"USDA Plants Database range map showing the locations in North America where the Flowering Raspberry plant can be found. Washington State and primarily the eastern part of the continent."
Flowering Raspberry (Rubus odoratus L.) range map. USDA Plants Database

Flowering raspberry is a member of the Rosaceae (Rose) family. The rose family includes well known species as diverse as garden roses, strawberries, apples, peaches, and blackberries. The genus Rubus (blackberries, raspberries, dewberries) typically has leaves with 3-5 leaflets, stems with hooked prickles (“thorns”) and bristles, and upright or arching stems (canes). Flowers have five petals.

Flowering raspberry has a palmately lobed leaf with 3 to 5 lobes. The leaf is 10 - 20 cm (4 - 8 in) wide by about as long. The stems are upright, grayish on new growth and brown on older branches with peeling bark. The plants spread by rhizome/root shoots and form small to large thickets from 1 - 1.5 m (39 - 60 in) high. Flowers on flowering raspberry are about 6-8 cm (2.5-3 in) across, with five rosy, pink petals and a white center. Flowers are generally borne in clusters at the ends of branches. The Flowers have a somewhat sweet odor. The sepals, pedicels, and upper stems have glandular hairs on them (see photo). Prickles are not present on the stem.

"The Flowering Raspberry plant, Rubus odoratus L., with green leaves, and flowers having five bright purple or rosy pink petals and a white center."
Flowering raspberry plant,  2012  by David D. Taylor.

Flowering raspberry is found in moist areas at the edge of forest, in open woodlands, and in shaded fencerows and thickets. It is found from Maine west to Michigan, south to the mountains of Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia, then north to Maine. It has escaped cultivation in Washington. It also occurs in Canada from Ontario east to Nova Scotia.

The fruit is edible but tends to fall apart and drop to the ground as it ripens. Numerous species of bees visit this plant.

"Close up of glandular hairs on sepals and pedicels of the Flowering Raspberry, Rubus odoratus L., plant."
Close up of glandular hairs on sepals and pedicels. 2012 by David  D. Taylor

Additional Information

USDA Plants Database - RUOD

https://www.fs.usda.gov/managing-land/wildflowers/plant-of-the-week/rubus-odoratus