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Useful Tropical Plants

Rubus argutus

Link

Rosaceae


Recognized as a distinct species in the USDA 'Plants Database' https://plants.usda.gov/core/profile?symbol=RUAR2, this species is treated as a synonym of Rubus pensilvanicus Poir., in the Flora of N. America[
270
Title
Flora of N. America
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://flora.huh.harvard.edu/fna/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An on-line version of the flora with an excellent description of the plant including a brief mention of plant uses.
].
The genus Rubus, especially the blackberries, presents some of the most difficult species-level problems, because of polyploidy, apomixis, and hybridization. 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[
43
Title
Gray's Manual of Botany.
Publication
 
Author
Fernald. M. L.
Publisher
American Book Co.; New York
Year
1908
ISBN
-
Description
A bit dated but a good and concise flora of the eastern part of N. America.
] 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)[
270
Title
Flora of N. America
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://flora.huh.harvard.edu/fna/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An on-line version of the flora with an excellent description of the plant including a brief mention of plant uses.
]. Where possible, a relatively conservative approach is taken here[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].
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[
43
Title
Gray's Manual of Botany.
Publication
 
Author
Fernald. M. L.
Publisher
American Book Co.; New York
Year
1908
ISBN
-
Description
A bit dated but a good and concise flora of the eastern part of N. America.
] 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)[
270
Title
Flora of N. America
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://flora.huh.harvard.edu/fna/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An on-line version of the flora with an excellent description of the plant including a brief mention of plant uses.
]. Where possible, a relatively conservative approach is taken here[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].

+ Synonyms

Rubus abundiflorus L.H.Bailey

Rubus betulifolius Small

Rubus floridensis L.H.Bailey

Rubus floridus Tratt.

Rubus incisifrons L.H.Bailey

Rubus louisianus A.Berger

Rubus penetrans L.H.Bailey

Rubus rhodophyllus Rydb.

Common Name: Highbush Blackberry

No Image.

General Information

Rubus argutus is a deciduous shrub producing each year a cluster of erect to arching, prickly, biennial stems from a woody rootstock; the stems can be 100 - 300cm long. The stems only produce leaves, and do not flower, in their first year of growth, forming flowering branches in their second year and then dying after fruiting. The plant can spread rapidly to form thickets.
The plant is commonly harvested from the wild for use as a food and a medicine. It is sometimes cultivated for its fruit in N. America, where it is a parent of several cultivars[
142
Title
Plants Consumed by Man.
Publication
 
Author
Brouk. B.
Publisher
Academic Press
Year
1975
ISBN
0-12-136450-x
Description
Readable but not very comprehensive.
,
171
Title
Economic Botany.
Publication
 
Author
Hill. A. F.
Publisher
The Maple Press
Year
1952
ISBN
-
Description
Not very comprehensive, but it is quite readable and goes into some detail about the plants it does cover.
,
317
Title
Mansfeld's Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Plants
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://mansfeld.ipk-gatersleben.de/pls/htmldb_pgrc/f?p=185:3:4292127278597336
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details of a huge range of useful plants.
,
1093
Title
Invasive Species Compendium
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.cabi.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An immense resource - in depth information on over 900 species of invasive plants (it also has information on animals, fungi etc).
]. It can be used within its native range to stabilize soils and restore native woodland.
Rubus argutus has been declared a noxious terrestrial weed in various countries, including New Zealand and Japan - in Hawaii it is listed among the 12 most significant environmental weeds It is capable of spreading both via seed and vegetative growth and competes with native vegetation. It spreads most rapidly with disturbance; seedling emergence is stimulated by soil disturbance and vegetative growth is much more rapid if the canopy is removed. Even when above-ground shoots are killed by cutting or spraying, it may re-sprout from well-developed roots. While it is effective in recolonizing areas with a moderate or opened canopy, growth of the plant is inhibited by deep shade[
1093
Title
Invasive Species Compendium
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.cabi.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An immense resource - in depth information on over 900 species of invasive plants (it also has information on animals, fungi etc).
].

Known Hazards

None known

Botanical References

43
Title
Gray's Manual of Botany.
Publication
 
Author
Fernald. M. L.
Publisher
American Book Co.; New York
Year
1908
ISBN
-
Description
A bit dated but a good and concise flora of the eastern part of N. America.
,
235
Title
An Illustrated Flora of the Northern United States and Canada
Publication
 
Author
Britton. N. L. Brown. A.
Publisher
Dover Publications. New York.
Year
1970
ISBN
0-486-22642-5
Description
Reprint of a 1913 Flora, but still a very useful book.

Range

Eastern N. America - Massachusetts to Virginia.

Habitat

Dry or moist thickets and woodland margins[
43
Title
Gray's Manual of Botany.
Publication
 
Author
Fernald. M. L.
Publisher
American Book Co.; New York
Year
1908
ISBN
-
Description
A bit dated but a good and concise flora of the eastern part of N. America.
]. Woodlands, savannahs, prairies, fields, meadows, swamps, rock outcrops, sand dunes, sandy soil, disturbed areas, dry to wet soil; at elevations up to 1,400 metres[
270
Title
Flora of N. America
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://flora.huh.harvard.edu/fna/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An on-line version of the flora with an excellent description of the plant including a brief mention of plant uses.
]

Properties

Weed PotentialYes
Edibility Rating *  *  *
Medicinal Rating *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *
HabitDeciduous Shrub
Height2.50 m
PollinatorsInsects
Cultivation StatusCultivated, Wild

Cultivation Details

Rubus argutus grows best in a warm temperate climate with mild winters and no distinct dry season. It is tolerant of continental climates with hot summers and cold winters and also of more tropical climates, so long as there is rainfall all year round[
1093
Title
Invasive Species Compendium
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.cabi.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An immense resource - in depth information on over 900 species of invasive plants (it also has information on animals, fungi etc).
]. It can tolerate moderate frosts, with some provenances of the plant perhaps surviving occasional falls to as low as -25°c for short periods[
1093
Title
Invasive Species Compendium
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.cabi.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An immense resource - in depth information on over 900 species of invasive plants (it also has information on animals, fungi etc).
].
Easily grown in a good well-drained loamy soil in sun or semi-shade[
1
Title
RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956
Publication
 
Author
F. Chittendon.
Publisher
Oxford University Press
Year
1951
ISBN
-
Description
Comprehensive listing of species and how to grow them. Somewhat outdated, it has been replaced in 1992 by a new dictionary (see [200]).
,
11
Title
Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement.
Publication
 
Author
Bean. W.
Publisher
Murray
Year
1981
ISBN
-
Description
A classic with a wealth of information on the plants, but poor on pictures.
,
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
]. The plant is adapted to a broad range of soil textures. It grows best in full or partial sun but under drier conditions can become desiccated. Habitats ranging from wet to mesic are suitable), including boggy sites. Its drought tolerance is only moderate and it does not tolerate salinity[
1093
Title
Invasive Species Compendium
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.cabi.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An immense resource - in depth information on over 900 species of invasive plants (it also has information on animals, fungi etc).
].
Plants in this genus are notably susceptible to honey fungus[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].
This species is occasionally cultivated for its edible fruit in N. America, and is a parent of many cultivated forms[[
142
Title
Plants Consumed by Man.
Publication
 
Author
Brouk. B.
Publisher
Academic Press
Year
1975
ISBN
0-12-136450-x
Description
Readable but not very comprehensive.
,
171
Title
Economic Botany.
Publication
 
Author
Hill. A. F.
Publisher
The Maple Press
Year
1952
ISBN
-
Description
Not very comprehensive, but it is quite readable and goes into some detail about the plants it does cover.
,
1093
Title
Invasive Species Compendium
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.cabi.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An immense resource - in depth information on over 900 species of invasive plants (it also has information on animals, fungi etc).
].
Rubus louisianus (generally considered to be a synonym of this species) is probably the wild form of the cultivar 'Crystal White blackberry' which in the USA is locally (e.g. Illinois) grown for its fruits[
317
Title
Mansfeld's Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Plants
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://mansfeld.ipk-gatersleben.de/pls/htmldb_pgrc/f?p=185:3:4292127278597336
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details of a huge range of useful plants.
].

Edible Uses

Fruit - raw or cooked[
105
Title
Tanaka's Cyclopedia of Edible Plants of the World.
Publication
 
Author
Tanaka. T. & Nakao S.
Publisher
Keigaku Publishing; Tokyo
Year
1976
ISBN
-
Description
The most comprehensive list of edible plants I've come across. Only the briefest entry for each species, though, and some of the entries are more than a little dubious. Not for the casual reader.
,
142
Title
Plants Consumed by Man.
Publication
 
Author
Brouk. B.
Publisher
Academic Press
Year
1975
ISBN
0-12-136450-x
Description
Readable but not very comprehensive.
,
171
Title
Economic Botany.
Publication
 
Author
Hill. A. F.
Publisher
The Maple Press
Year
1952
ISBN
-
Description
Not very comprehensive, but it is quite readable and goes into some detail about the plants it does cover.
,
257
Title
Native American Ethnobotany
Publication
 
Author
Moerman. D.
Publisher
Timber Press. Oregon.
Year
1998
ISBN
0-88192-453-9
Description
Very comprehensive but terse guide to the native uses of plants. Excellent bibliography, fully referenced to each plant, giving a pathway to further information. Not for the casual reader.
]. Variable in size and quality but generally with rather large and juicy drupelets[
183
Title
Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications
Year
1990
ISBN
0-9628087-0-9
Description
Excellent. Contains a very wide range of conventional and unconventional food plants (including tropical) and where they can be obtained (mainly N. American nurseries but also research institutes and a lot of other nurseries from around the world.
]. The pulpy fruit is up to 25mm long[
235
Title
An Illustrated Flora of the Northern United States and Canada
Publication
 
Author
Britton. N. L. Brown. A.
Publisher
Dover Publications. New York.
Year
1970
ISBN
0-486-22642-5
Description
Reprint of a 1913 Flora, but still a very useful book.
]. Some forms have white fruits[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].

Medicinal

The roots are antihaemorrhoidal, antirheumatic, astringent, stimulant and tonic[
257
Title
Native American Ethnobotany
Publication
 
Author
Moerman. D.
Publisher
Timber Press. Oregon.
Year
1998
ISBN
0-88192-453-9
Description
Very comprehensive but terse guide to the native uses of plants. Excellent bibliography, fully referenced to each plant, giving a pathway to further information. Not for the casual reader.
]. An infusion can be used in the treatment of venereal disease and as a wash in the treatment of piles[
257
Title
Native American Ethnobotany
Publication
 
Author
Moerman. D.
Publisher
Timber Press. Oregon.
Year
1998
ISBN
0-88192-453-9
Description
Very comprehensive but terse guide to the native uses of plants. Excellent bibliography, fully referenced to each plant, giving a pathway to further information. Not for the casual reader.
].

An infusion of the roots or leaves can be used in the treatment of diarrhoea and rheumatism[
257
Title
Native American Ethnobotany
Publication
 
Author
Moerman. D.
Publisher
Timber Press. Oregon.
Year
1998
ISBN
0-88192-453-9
Description
Very comprehensive but terse guide to the native uses of plants. Excellent bibliography, fully referenced to each plant, giving a pathway to further information. Not for the casual reader.
].

Agroforestry Uses:

Most, if not all, thicket-forming species of Rubus have good erosion control value. They usually grow satisfactorily on barren and infertile soils and invade and occupy eroded areas. They also establish quickly on burns, old fields, and logged areas. Forming extensive and nearly impenetrable thickets, they can provide excellent cover for wildlife as well as nesting sites for small birds. They are often natural pioneer species, paving the way for woodlands to develop, but they should only really be used within their native range in order to avoid any risks of them invading other habitats[
1050
Title
Fire Effects Information System
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.feis-crs.org/feis/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An on-line information site with comprehensive information on over 1,100 species of plant. Mainly developed to supply information on the effects of fire on plants and animals, it also contains a wealth of other information on the plants
,
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].

Other Uses

This species is useful in blackberry breeding programmes, where it can be used to produce cultivars with erect growth. Among others, it has produced the successful cultivar 'Early Harvest'[
317
Title
Mansfeld's Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Plants
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://mansfeld.ipk-gatersleben.de/pls/htmldb_pgrc/f?p=185:3:4292127278597336
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details of a huge range of useful plants.
].

A purple to dull blue dye is obtained from the fruit[
168
Title
Nature's Colors - Dyes from Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Grae. I.
Publisher
MacMillan Publishing Co. New York.
Year
1974
ISBN
0-02-544950-8
Description
A very good and readable book on dyeing.
].

Propagation

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[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].
Tip layering towards the end of the growing season
Division just before the plant comes into new growth or as it enters dormancy[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].

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