There is considerable confusion over this taxon. It has often been treated as Dalibarda repens L., but recent research - Lawrence A. Alice and Christopher S. Campbell 'Phylogeny of Rubus (Rosaceae) based on Nuclear Ribosomal DNA Internal Transcribed Space Region Sequences' American Journal of Botany 86(1): 81-97. 1999 - has proposed transferring Dalibarda repens to Rubus as Rubus dalibarda L. This has been accepted by some authorities, but not by all. To further complicate matters, the Flora of N. America[
] has transferred Dalibarda repens to Rubus repens (L.) Kuntze, a name that might be invalid due to the prior named taxon Rubus repens Gueldenst. We are following the treatment in the Flora of N. America[
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[
Dalibarda repens L.
Rubus dalibarda L.
Common Name: Robin Runaway
Rubus repens is a low-growing, herbaceous perennial plant with creeping, unarmed stems and short upright flowering stems to 10cm tall[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a medicine, and possibly also as a food.
Central and eastern N. America - Ontario to Quebec and Nova Scotia, south to Minnesota, Ohio and North Carolina
Moist woods, swamps; at elevations up to 1,000 metres[
Species in this genus are generally easily grown in a good well-drained loamy soil in sun or semi-shade[
The plant produces two types of flowers - a few upright, lomg-peduncled, usually sterile ones with white petals, and numerous, fertile, apetalous, cleistogamous flowers[
Plants in this genus are notably susceptible to honey fungus[
Rubus repens is recognized by its creeping, unarmed stems, simple, ovate-orbiculate leaves, long petioles with spreading hairs, sterile petaliferous flowers on long pedicels and fertile apetalous flowers on short pedicels, and essentially dry fruits. Phylogenetic analysis of DNA sequence data supports inclusion of Dalibarda repens in Rubus, as a sister species to Rubus lasiococcus[
Fruits - raw or cooked. The whitish fruit is around 3 - 5mm in diameter[
The Iroquois use a decoction of the powdered plant as a blood purifier and for treating venereal disease[
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[