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 × vinaceus T.Yamanaka & Momiy.
Rubus corchorifolius incisus (Thunb.) Kuntze
Rubus corchorifolius pseudoincisus (Kuntze) Kuntze
Rubus crataegifolius subcrataegifolius H.Lév. & Vaniot
Rubus geifolius Kuntze
Rubus grossularia H.Lév. & Vaniot
Rubus incisus Thunb.
Rubus koehneanus Focke
Rubus pseudoincisus Kuntze
Rubus subcrataegifolius (H.Lév. & Vaniot) H.Lév.
Rubus microphyllus is a deciduous shrub of bushy, rounded habit, producing each year a cluster of somewhat prickly, biennial stems growing from a woody rootstock[
]. The plant grows 60 - 120cm tall[
]. The stems only produce leaves, and do not flower, in their first year of growth, forming flowering branches in their second year and then dying after fruiting.
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a food. It is sometimes grown as an ornamental in gardens.
E. Asia - central and southern Japan.
|Cultivation Status||Ornamental, Wild
Rubus microphyllus is native to the temperate and warm temperate regions of central and southern Japan, where it experiences light frost and snow, but winters are generally fairly mild. It is not hardy in the colder regions of the temperate zone[
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[
]. Rather sour, but quite edible[
]. The raspberry-like, orange-red fruit has a persistent calyx[
] - this wraps the developing fruit and helps reduce insect damage[
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[