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 chungii Hu
Rubus officinalis Koidz.
Rubus suavissimus S.K.Lee
Rubus tanakae auct.
Common Name: Tiancha
Rubus chingii is a deciduous shrub producing each year a cluster of erect to scrambling, sparsely prickly, biennial stems from a woody rootstock; the stems can be 150 - 300cm long[
]. The stems only produce leaves in their first year of growth, forming flower and leaf-bearing branches in their second year and dying after fruiting.
The plant is commonly harvested from the wild for local use as a food, and is also harvested for medicinal use.
E. Asia - southeast China, Japan
Slopes, broad-leaved evergreen forests on hills, coniferous forests, thickets, roadsides; at elevations from 500 - 1,000 metres[
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Species in this genus are generally easily grown in a good well-drained loamy soil in sun or semi-shade[
Plants in this genus are notably susceptible to honey fungus[
Fruit - raw or cooked. Very sweet[
]. They are used for making jam, jelly, and various drinks, including wine[
]. It has a rather high yield in the wild, and the sweet-sour fruits, which are especially favoured by children, are gathered and sold in farmer's markets and used to make wine[
]. The red, subglobose fruit is 15 - 20mm in diameter[
The leaves are rich in sugars and are used to make a sweet tea in southern China[
]. (the var suavissimus is used). Regular consumption of the tea is said to lead to a range of health benefits, including the lowering of high blood pressure and the lowering of high blood-sugar levels,
The fruits and roots are used in the treatment of coughs, as an invigorator of blood circulation and to reduce swellings[
The leaves are used as a tonic for older people[
This is one of four species that are used in Guangxi, China to make the ethnomedicine tiancha (sweet tea). This species is known as Yaoshan-tiancha. The other three species are Lithocarpus litseifolius (Hance) Chun (baise-tiancha); Engelhardia roxburghiana Wall. (guiping-tiancha); and Mycetia sinensis (Hemsl.) Craib (longzhou-tiancha)[
Tiancha is used chiefly in the treatment of hypertension and diabetes[
]. (As Rubus suavissimus S.K.Lee)
The fruit, roots, and leaves are used in medicine[
]. No more information is given.
The plant has been used in Rubus breeding programmes in China since 1987[
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[
Tip layering in July. Plant out in autumn.
Division in early spring or just before leaf-fall in the autumn[