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[
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 argentatus robustus (P.J.Müll.) W.M.Rogers
Rubus bifrons fritschii Ade
Rubus discolor Boiss.
Rubus dynatos (Focke) Fitschen
Rubus hedycarpus dynatos Focke
Rubus hedycarpus eumacrostemon Focke
Rubus hedycarpus macrostemon Focke
Rubus hedycarpus praecox (Bertol.) Focke
Rubus hedycarpus procerus (P.J.Müll. ex Boulay) Focke
Rubus hedycarpus robustus (P.J.Müll.) Boulay
Rubus leucandrus procerus (P.J.Müll. ex Boulay) Focke
Rubus macrostemon Focke
Rubus praecox macrostemon (Focke) Hayek
Rubus procerus P.J.Müll. ex Boulay
Rubus pubescens macrostemon (Focke) Nyman
Rubus pubescens robustus (P.J.Müll. ex Ley) Nyman
Rubus robustus P.J.Müll.
Rubus praecox is a vigorous, deciduous shrub producing each year a cluster of erect to arching, prickly stems from a woody rootstock; the stems can be several metres long, occasionally to 10 metres. Although it is a blackberry (usually with biennial stems), the stems of this species are often perennial and can fruit for more than one year[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a food.
Europe - Germany and France to Spain, east to Ukraine Bulgaria and Greece
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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 in pies, cakes etc[
]. The fruit can also be dried for later use[
]. Very large for a blackberry[
] with a very pleasant rich flavour when fully ripe[
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[
A purple to dull blue dye is obtained from the fruit[
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[