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Useful Temperate Plants

Rubus ulmifolius

Schott

Rosaceae


There has been considerable confusion over the identity of the cultivated blackberry ’Himalaya Giant’. In the past it has been assigned to both Rubus procerus P.J.Müll. ex Boulay, and to Rubus discolor Weihe & Nees. Most, though not all, modern treatments now assign ‘Himalaya Giant’ to Rubus armeniacus Focke, with Rubus discolor and Rubus procerus both having been used erroneously to apply to ‘Himalaya Giant’. The true Rubus procerus P.J.Müll. ex Boulay has been reduced to synonymy of Rubus praecox Bertol., whilst Rubus discolor Weihe & Nees has been reduced to synonymy of Rubus ulmifolius Schott[
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.Eighth Edition
Publication
 
Author
Fernald. M. L.
Publisher
American Book Co.; New York
Year
1950
ISBN
0442222505
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 × tridentinus Evers

Rubus abruptus Lindl.

Rubus aetneus Tornab.

Rubus albescens Boulay & Gillot

Rubus amoenus hispanicus (Willk.) Willk.

Rubus amoenus microphyllus Lange

Rubus appenninus Evers

Rubus bellidiflorus hort. ex K.Koch

Rubus bellidiflorus hort. ex Petz. & G.Kirchn.

Rubus bujedanus Sennen & T.S.Elias

Rubus castellanus Sennen & T.S.Elias

Rubus chlorocarpus Bor. in Genev.

Rubus cocullotinus Evers

Rubus crispulus Gand.

Rubus discolor Syme

Rubus discolor Weihe & Nees

Rubus edouardii Sennen

Rubus fruticosus discolor (Weihe & Nees) Syme

Rubus fruticosus panormitanus (Tineo) Fiori

Rubus fruticosus ulmifolius (Schott) Fiori

Rubus gerundensis Sennen

Rubus hispanicus Willk.

Rubus inermis A.Beek

Rubus inermis Pourr.

Rubus inermis Willd.

Rubus karstianus Borb s

Rubus legionensis Gand.

Rubus lejeunei Weihe ex Lej.

Rubus longipetiolatus Sennen

Rubus minutiflorus Lange

Rubus oculus-junonis Gand.

Rubus panormitanus Tineo

Rubus pilosus discolor (Weihe & Nees) Dumort.

Rubus pubescens discolor (Weihe & Nees) Karsch

Rubus rusticanus Mercier

Rubus segobricensis Pau

Rubus siculus C.Presl

Rubus sinusifolius Sennen

Rubus tomentellus appenninus Evers ex Hruby

Rubus valentinus Pau

Rubus villicaulis discolor (Weihe & Nees) Čelak.

Rubus vulgaris discolor (Weihe & Nees) Bluff & Fingerh.

Common Name: Elm-Leaved Bramble

No Image.

General Information

Rubus ulmifolius is a semi-evergreen shrub producing each year a cluster of unarmed or armed, erect, then arching, biennial stems from a woody rootstock; the stems can be 300 - 500cm long[
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.
,
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 stems only produce leaves in their first year, producing flower and fruit-bearing branches in their second yea of growth and then dying after fruiting.
The plant is commonly harvested from the wild for local use as a food. It has been cultivated as a fruit crop in western Europe since the late 19th century and is now cultivated in many other temperate regions of the world - a form free of spines has been developed. The plant is sometimes also grown as an ornamental, especially the double-flowered form 'Bellidiflorus'[
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.
].
Rubus ulmifolius is a variable species that has been cultivated as a fruit crop and an ornamental. It spreads both by bird-sown seeds and vegetatively - the stems tips rooting where they touch the ground and the plant forming dense, impenetrable thickets. It has escaped from cultivation and been declared a weed in various areas, including the western USA, Australia and some Pacific Islands.

Known Hazards

None known

Botanical References

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.
,
17
Title
Flora of the British Isles.
Publication
 
Author
Clapham, Tutin and Warburg.
Publisher
Cambridge University Press
Year
1962
ISBN
-
Description
A very comprehensive flora, the standard reference book but it has no 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.

Range

Europe, including Britain, from the Netherlands south and east to N. Africa, Italy and Macaronesia.

Habitat

Very common in many habitats, succeeding on chalk and clay and preferring open sunny habitats[
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.
,
17
Title
Flora of the British Isles.
Publication
 
Author
Clapham, Tutin and Warburg.
Publisher
Cambridge University Press
Year
1962
ISBN
-
Description
A very comprehensive flora, the standard reference book but it has no pictures.
,
150
Title
Handbook of the Rubi of Great Britain and Ireland.
Publication
 
Author
Watson. W. C. R.
Publisher
 
Year
 
ISBN
 
Description
There are hundreds of slightly differing species of the common blackberry growing in Britain. This is a book for the dedicated.
].

Properties

Weed PotentialYes
Edibility Rating *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *
HabitDeciduous Shrub
Height3.00 m
Growth RateMedium
PollinatorsInsects
Self-fertileNo
Cultivation StatusCultivated, Ornamental, Wild

Cultivation Details

Rubus ulmifolius is hardy to about -18°c[
202
Title
Climbers and Wall Shrubs.
Publication
 
Author
Davis. B.
Publisher
Viking.
Year
1990
ISBN
0-670-82929-3
Description
Contains information on 2,000 species and cultivars, giving details of cultivation requirements. The text is terse but informative.
].
Easily grown in a good well-drained loamy soil[
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.
]. Succeeds on chalk or clay soils, preferring open habitats in the wild[
17
Title
Flora of the British Isles.
Publication
 
Author
Clapham, Tutin and Warburg.
Publisher
Cambridge University Press
Year
1962
ISBN
-
Description
A very comprehensive flora, the standard reference book but it has no pictures.
,
150
Title
Handbook of the Rubi of Great Britain and Ireland.
Publication
 
Author
Watson. W. C. R.
Publisher
 
Year
 
ISBN
 
Description
There are hundreds of slightly differing species of the common blackberry growing in Britain. This is a book for the dedicated.
]. Tolerates poor soils so long as they are not dry[
202
Title
Climbers and Wall Shrubs.
Publication
 
Author
Davis. B.
Publisher
Viking.
Year
1990
ISBN
0-670-82929-3
Description
Contains information on 2,000 species and cultivars, giving details of cultivation requirements. The text is terse but informative.
]. Succeeds 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.
] and also in deep shade though growth is more lax in such a position[
202
Title
Climbers and Wall Shrubs.
Publication
 
Author
Davis. B.
Publisher
Viking.
Year
1990
ISBN
0-670-82929-3
Description
Contains information on 2,000 species and cultivars, giving details of cultivation requirements. The text is terse but informative.
].
This species reproduces sexually and not apomictically like many other brambles. Individual plants are self-sterile[
17
Title
Flora of the British Isles.
Publication
 
Author
Clapham, Tutin and Warburg.
Publisher
Cambridge University Press
Year
1962
ISBN
-
Description
A very comprehensive flora, the standard reference book but it has no pictures.
].
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.
].
Rubus ulmifolius can be distinguished, especially from the closely related Rubus bifrons and Rubus vestitus, by its strongly pruinose stems, finely serrate leaflets, and lack of glands throughout. Unlike Rubus ulmifolius, strongly pruinose native Rubus species lack relatively large and showy pink petals. Some new stems developing from tip-rooting, and early leaves on such stems (especially in shade), are not whitened abaxially and are tomentose. Such unusual stems develop typical leaves and surfaces in parts formed later[
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.
].

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.
,
145
Title
Forest Flora of Srinagar.
Publication
 
Author
Singh. Dr. G. and Kachroo. Prof. Dr. P.
Publisher
Bishen Singh Mahendra Pal Singh
Year
1976
ISBN
-
Description
A good flora of the western Himalayas but poorly illustrated. Some information on plant uses.
]. Aromatic, but with small dryish drupelets[
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.
]. Sweet[
148
Title
Herbs of Greece.
Publication
 
Author
Niebuhr. A. D.
Publisher
Herb Society of America.
Year
1970
ISBN
-
Description
A pleasant little book about Greek herbs.
]. The ovoid or subglobose fruits are around 8 - 10mm in diameter[
1003
Title
Invasive lant Species of the World; a reference guide to envoronmental weeds.
Publication
 
Author
Weber E.
Publisher
Biddles Ltd., King's Lynn, UK
Year
2005
ISBN
0-85199-695-7
Description
Contains information on the habit and growth patterns of 450 recognised invasive species of plant.
].

Medicinal

None known

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

The recessive gene for spinelessnes of var. anoplothyrsus is the main genetic source used by plant breeders to produce spineless blackberries[
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.
].
The root yields an orange dye when mixed with salt[
148
Title
Herbs of Greece.
Publication
 
Author
Niebuhr. A. D.
Publisher
Herb Society of America.
Year
1970
ISBN
-
Description
A pleasant little book about Greek herbs.
].

Propagation

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, mid summer 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 in July. Plant out in autumn.
Division in early spring or just before leaf-fall in the autumn[
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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