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 alnifoliolatus kotoensis (Hayata) H.L.Li
Rubus celebicus Blume
Rubus kotoensis Hayata
Rubus merrillii Focke
Fruiting plant in native habitat
Photograph by: Bilal Sau
Rubus fraxinifolius is an erect, sometimes semi-climbing shrub producing a cluster of stems from a woody rootstock; it can grow up to 3 metres tall. The stems are often free of prickles, though they sometimes have a few straight prickles up to 6mm long[
The edible fruits are gathered from the wild for local consumption. They are sometimes sold in local markets[
Southeast Asia - Taiwan, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, to New Guinea, northern Australia and the Solomon Islands.
Forest borders and open places in forest, riverbanks, deserted gardens, roadsides, and other more or less open places, at elevations from near sea level to 2,500 metres[
Species in this genus are generally easily grown in a good well-drained loamy soil in sun or semi-shade[
Fruit - raw[
]. The large, red fruits are juicy and sweetish[
]. There are conflicting reports on the quality of the fruit, with some people saying that they are tasteless or worse, whilst they are often harvested locally and sold in the markets[
]. The fruit is up to 25mm long and 15mm wide[
The leaves are astringent. They are used in the treatment of slimy faeces (dysentery?)[
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.