The genus Rubus, (especially the blackberries, which are often loosely referred to as Rubus fruticosus agg.) presents some of the most difficult taxonomic problems. This is partly due to the frequency of polyploidy; also to the frequent occurrence of hybridization; and also due to apomixis, where minor differences between plants are preserved because seedlings are genetically identical to their parent. As a result, differences of opinion on the number of species to be recognized from a given region can vary tremendously (for example, a treatment by M. L. Fernald[
] in 1950 recognized 205 species for the northern half of the eastern United States plus parts of southeastern Canada, whilst H. A. Gleason and A. Cronquist in 1991 recognized only 25)[
]. Where possible, a relatively conservative approach is taken here[
Rubus adolfi-friedericii Engl.
Rubus assaortinus Chiov.
Rubus borbonicus Pers.
Rubus chiovendae Gust.
Rubus ecklonii Focke
Rubus exsuccus Steud. ex A.Rich.
Rubus gortanii Chiov.
Rubus inedulis Rolfe
Rubus interjungens Gust.
Rubus malagassus Focke
Rubus petalabigens Gust.
Rubus petitianus A.Rich.
Rubus pinnatiformis Gust.
Rubus quartinianus A.Rich.
Rubus apetalus is a very variable, scrambling shrub producing each year a cluster of stems from a woody rootstock; the plant can grow to around 150cm tall[
]. The tangled, hairy stems are well armed with hooked prickles 2 - 6mm long[
The edible fruit is a popular local food - it is usually harvested from the wild, though the plant is also sometimes cultivated in gardens[
]. The fruits are often sold in local markets[
Africa - Nigeria to Ethiopia, south to Angola, Zambia, Botswana and S. Africa, but avoiding the wettest areas.
Edges of forest clearings, secondary bush and grassland, riverine forest, upland grassland, roadsides, often forming thickets, at elevations from 1,400 - 2,700 metres[
|Cultivation Status||Cultivated, Wild
A plant of higher elevations in the tropics.
Species in this genus are generally easily grown in a good well-drained loamy soil in sun or semi-shade[
Fruit - raw[
]. Eaten as a snack, they are much liked by people of all ages[
]. Both jam and juice can also be made from the ripe fruits[
]. The purple-black, compound fruit is up to 15mm long, made up of more than 40 single-seeded, small, fleshy drupes[
The ripe fruits are boiled in water, stirred and filtered. Sugar is added and the liquid drunk to treat anaemia[
An infusion of the leaves is used for treating diabetes[
The plant is sometimes grown as a boundary marker[
]. Its hooked prickles will help to deter unwanted guests[
Seed - germinates best if given a period of cold stratification prior to sowing in containers. Stored seed requires one month stratification at about 3°c and is best sown as early as possible in the growing season. Prick out the seedlings when they are large enough to handle and grow on until large enough to plant out.
Cuttings of half-ripe wood in a frame[
Tip layering towards the end of the growing season
Division just before the plant comes into new growth or as it enters dormancy[
If you have any useful information about this plant, please leave a comment. Comments have to be approved before they are shown here.