Rubus fruticosus - L.
Common Name Blackberry, Shrubby blackberry
Family Rosaceae
USDA hardiness 5-9
Known Hazards None known
Habitats A very common and adaptable plant, found in hedgerows, woodland, meadows, waste ground etc[17, 244].
Range Europe, including Britain, to the Mediterraneanand Macaronesia.
Edibility Rating  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential Yes
Medicinal Rating  
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Full shade Semi-shade Full sun

Translate this page:

You can translate the content of this page by selecting a language in the select box.


Rubus fruticosus Blackberry, Shrubby blackberry
Rubus fruticosus Blackberry, Shrubby blackberry
Physical Characteristics
 icon of manicon of shrub
Rubus fruticosus is a deciduous Shrub growing to 3 m (9ft) by 3 m (9ft) at a fast rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 6 and is not frost tender. It is in leaf 11-Mar It is in flower from May to September, and the seeds ripen from Jul to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects, Apomictic.The plant is self-fertile.
It is noted for attracting wildlife.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very acid and very alkaline soils.
It can grow in full shade (deep woodland) semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil and can tolerate drought. The plant can tolerates strong winds but not maritime exposure.


Woodland Garden Sunny Edge; Dappled Shade; Shady Edge; not Deep Shade; Hedgerow;
Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Fruit;  Leaves;  Root.
Edible Uses: Tea.

Fruit - raw or cooked[5, 7, 9, 12, 183]. The best forms have delicious fruits and, with a range of types, it is possible to obtain ripe fruits from late July to November[K]. The fruit is also made into syrups, jams and other preserves[238]. Some people find that if they eat the fruit before it is very ripe and quite soft then it can give them stomach upsets[K]. Root - cooked. The root should be neither to young nor too old and requires a lot of boiling[7]. A tea is made from the dried leaves[21] - the young leaves are best[61]. The leaves are often used in herbal tea blends[238]. Young shoots - raw. They are harvested as they emerge through the ground in the spring, peeled and then eaten in salads[244].
Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Antidiarrhoeal;  Astringent;  Depurative;  Diuretic;  Tonic;  Vulnerary.

The root-bark and the leaves are strongly astringent, depurative, diuretic, tonic and vulnerary[4, 7, 9, 165, 254]. They make an excellent remedy for dysentery, diarrhoea, haemorrhoids, cystitis etc, the root is the more astringent[4, 238]. Externally, they are used as a gargle to treat sore throats, mouth ulcers and gum inflammations[238, 254]. A decoction of the leaves is useful as a gargle in treating thrush and also makes a good general mouthwash[7].


Other Uses
Dye;  Fibre;  Pioneer.

A purple to dull blue dye is obtained from the fruit[168]. A fibre is obtained from the stem and used to make twine[66]. Plants are spread by seed deposited in the droppings of birds and mammals. They often spring up in burnt-over, logged or abandoned land and make an excellent pioneer species, creating the right conditions for woodland trees to move in. The trees will often grow in the middle of a clump of blackberries, the prickly stems protecting them from rabbits[K].
Cultivation details
Easily grown in a good well-drained loamy soil[1, 11, 200]. Succeeds in acid and calcareous soils[186]. Tolerates poor soils[202]. Established plants are drought resistant[132]. Succeeds in sun or semi-shade[1, 11, 200], though it fruits less well in the shade[202]. Plants will also fruit when grown in fairly deep shade or against a north facing wall, though the fruit will ripen later[219]. Plants tolerate quite severe exposure[186]. Hardy to at least -18°c[202]. R. fruticosus is an aggregate species made up of several hundred slightly differing species. The reason for this is that most seed is produced by a non-sexual method (Apomixis) and is therefore genetically identical to the parent plant. On occasions when sexual production of seed takes place the offspring will all be slightly different from the parent plant and will then usually reproduce as a new species by means of apomixy. Modern treatment of this aggregate usually does not use the name R. fruticosus because of the confusion over which species it should apply to, the type species of the aggregate should be called R. ulmifolius[150]. The following members of the aggregate have been highly recommended for their fruit[150]. R. badius. R. cyclophorus. R. gratus. R. nemoralis. R. oxyanchus. R. pyramidalis. R. separinus. R. winteri. The following members are said to be nearly as good. R. balfourianus. R. broensis. R. carpinifolius. R. foliosus. R. fuscoviridis. R. infestus. R. insericatus newbouldianus. R. koehleri. R. largificus. R. londinensis. R. ludensis. R. macrophyllus. R. obscurus. R. pseudo-bifrons. R. rhombifolius. R. riddelsdellii. R. scaber. R. thyrsiflorus. R. vallisparsus. R. vestitus. Plants form dense thickets and this makes excellent cover for birds[186]. They regenerate freely after being cut back[186]. This species is also a good plant for bees and butterflies[24]. This species has biennial stems, it produces a number of new stems each year from the perennial rootstock, these stems fruit in their second year and then die[200]. Plants in this genus are notably susceptible to honey fungus[200].
Seed - requires stratification and is best sown in early autumn in a cold frame. Stored seed requires one month stratification at about 3°c and is best sown as early as possible in the year. Prick out the seedlings when they are large enough to handle and grow on in a cold frame. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring of the following year. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame[200]. Tip layering in July. Plant out in autumn. Division in early spring or just before leaf-fall in the autumn[200].
Other Names
Alish, Baganrra, Blackberry, Bramble, Chanch, Pakana, Rovo, Scepe, Spino, Szeder,
Found In
Africa, Asia, Australia, Balkans, Bosnia, Britain, Europe, Greece, Hungary, India, Italy, Kosovo, Lithuania, Norfolk Island, Pakistan, Romania, South Africa, Southern Africa, Swaziland, Tasmania, USA,
Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status
IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :
Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Actinidia rubus 30
Rubus abbreviansVermont blackberry30
Rubus acaulisDwarf Raspberry31
Rubus acer 10
Rubus adenophorus 20
Rubus adenotrichusMora Comun20
Rubus affinis 20
Rubus alexeterius 20
Rubus allegheniensisAlleghany Blackberry, Graves' blackberry32
Rubus almusMayes Dewberry, Garden dewberry30
Rubus amabilis 30
Rubus ampelinus 20
Rubus arcticusArctic Bramble, Arctic raspberry, Dwarf raspberry50
Rubus argutusHighbush Blackberry, Sawtooth blackberry21
Rubus arizonicusArizona Dewberry20
Rubus australis 20
Rubus avipes 20
Rubus baileyanusBailey's dewberry20
Rubus barbatus 20
Rubus bellobatusKittatinny Blackberry20
Rubus biflorus 30
Rubus bifronsHimalayan berry, Hybrid European blackberry, Hybrid blackberry10
Rubus bloxamii 20
Rubus buergeri 20
Rubus caesiusDewberry, European dewberry20
Rubus calycinusWild Raspberry10
Rubus canadensisAmerican Dewberry, Smooth blackberry41
Rubus candicans 20
Rubus caucasicus 20
Rubus caudatus 20


Print Friendly and PDF
Expert comment
Botanical References
Links / References
For a list of references used on this page please go here
Readers comment
   Tue Jun 13 2006
This plant has grown out of control in the undergrowth of our garden and now that we have cut back our shrubs we have found it difficult to control the growth of these thorny canes. They are sprouting up everywhere and we have small children in the garden and are worried. Would a week killer kill these prickly canes off.
The Jolly Roger   Sun May 6 2007
You have no need to worry about your children, these are blackberry vines, not gestapos. Also I would think that if that didn't kill them, it would at least kill week.
Phil Brough   Sun Mar 2 2008
I have just planted rubus fruticosus and dont know if I have to prune immediately after planting - any advice
QR Code

What's this?

This is a QR code (short for Quick Response) which gives fast-track access to our website pages. QR Codes are barcodes that can be read by mobile phone (smartphone) cameras. This QR Code is unique to this page. All plant pages have their own unique code. For more information about QR Codes click here.

1. Copy and print the QR code to a plant label, poster, book, website, magazines, newspaper etc and even t-shirts.
2. Smartphone users scan the QR Code which automatically takes them to the webpage the QR Code came from.
3. Smartphone users quickly have information on a plant directly for the website on their phone.
Add a comment

If you have important information about this plant that may help other users please add a comment or link below. Only comments or links that are felt to be directly relevant to a plant will be included. If you think a comment/link or information contained on this page is inaccurate or misleading we would welcome your feedback at [email protected]. If you have questions about a plant please use the Forum on this website as we do not have the resources to answer questions ourselves.

* Please note: the comments by website users are not necessarily those held by PFAF and may give misleading or inaccurate information.

To leave a comment please Register or login here All comments need to be approved so will not appear immediately.

Subject : Rubus fruticosus  

Plant Uses

Edible Uses
Medicinal Uses
Other Plant uses
Woodland Gardening
Why Perennial Plants?
Top Edible Plants
Top Medicinal Plants
Garden Design

Twiter      Facebook


Content Help
Support Us
Old Database Search
About Us
Sign In

Stay informed about PFAFs progress,
challenges and hopes by signing up for
our free email ePost. You will receive
a range of benefits including:
* Important announcements and news
* Exclusive content not on the website
* Updates on new information &
functionality of the website & database

We will not sell or share your email address.
You can unsubscribe at anytime.