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 ampliflorus H.Lév. & Vaniot
Rubus holadenus H.Lév.
Rubus megalothyrsus Cardot
Rubus paniculatus brevifolius Kuntze ex Franch.
Rubus schindleri Focke
Rubus tephrodes is a deciduous shrub producing each year a cluster of sparsely-prickly, biennial, scrambling stems from a woody rootstock; the plants can be 300 - 400cm tall[
]. The stems only produce leaves in their first year, producing flower and fruit-bearing branches in their second year of growth and then dying after fruiting. Plants can form dense thickets in the wild.
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a food and a medicine.
E. Asia - southeastern China.
Mountainous regions and summits, foothills, slopes, roadsides, thickets, montane valleys; at elevations up to 1,500 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[
When growing in acidic soils, the leaves gain brown markings along the veins.
Plants in this genus are notably susceptible to honey fungus[
Fruit - raw or cooked. A reasonable flavour. The purplish black, globose fruit is 10 - 15mm in diameter[
The leaves and the root are astringent and styptic. Stimulates the circulation[
A decoction of the leaves and roots is used in the treatment of amenorrhoea, diarrhoea, dysentery, myalgia etc[
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[