Northern Ontario Plant Database
Rubus pubescens Raf.
En: dewberry, dwarf raspberry
Rosaceae (Rose Family)
General: A low perennial deciduous forb; erect shoots, 1–3 dm tall, arising from horizontal, above-ground trailing stems, which lack prickles or thorns.
Leaves: 2–5, alternate, compound, smooth (glabrous) to slightly hairy, divided into 3 leaflets (trifoliate), 2–7 cm long; leaves stalked (petiolate) and bearing a pair of oblanceolate stipules at the base; blades thin (membranaceous). The terminal leaflet diamond-shaped (rhombic), sessile to short-stalked, tapering to the base (cuneate) and the pointed (acute) apex, the lateral leaflets ovate, asymmetric, broadly cuneate to rounded at the base and wider below the midrib; apices acute to acuminate, margins toothed (serrate).
Flowers: Bisexual, 1–3, erect, terminal. Calyx deeply 5-lobed, each lobe lanceolate, reflexed; petals 5, white to pale pink, oblanceolate, clawed, to 1 cm long. Flowers bloom in late spring to early summer.
Fruit: The raspberry-like fruits (an aggregate of drupelets) are deep ruby red when mature. The fruits, 0.5–1 cm in diameter, are difficult to separate from the receptacle and ripen in late summer.
Habitat and Range: Rich, moist mixedwood and boreal forests, bog hummocks, thickets, and stream margins. Rubus pubescens is native to northern boreal and arctic regions of North America and Eurasia (circumboreal). The dewberry, which occurs throughout Ontario, is a good indicator of nutrient-rich, fresh, moist, or wet soils (Ringius & Sims 1998).
Similar Species: Rubus arcticus subsp. acaulis, the arctic bramble, occurs in northern regions of Ontario, with a more northern distribution than R. pubescens. It also has a compound leaf with 3 leaflets, but can be distinguished by its thicker leaves, more obovate blunt-tipped leaflets, bright pink to purplish flowers, and smaller, deep red to purple raspberries.
Internet Images: The Rubus pubescens webpage from the Shrubs of Wisconsin website.
The Rubus pubescens webpage from Flowering Plants in Voyageur Country, in northeastern Minnesota.
The Rubus pubescens webpage from the Robert W. Freckmann Herbarium, Univ. of Wisconsin - Stevens Point., with links to some very nice botanical illustrations of the species.
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