common dewberry (Rubus flagellaris)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

COMMON NAMES:
northern dewberry
whiplash dewberry
common dewberry

 

SCIENTIFIC SYNONYMS:
Rubus alacer L.H. Bailey
Rubus arundelanus Blanch.
Rubus arundelanus Blanch. var. jeckylanus (Blanch.) L.H. Bailey
Rubus ascendens Blanch.
Rubus ashei L.H. Bailey
Rubus bonus L.H. Bailey
Rubus camurus L.H. Bailey
Rubus clausenii L.H. Bailey
Rubus connixus L.H. Bailey
Rubus cordialis L.H. Bailey
Rubus dissitiflorus Fernald
Rubus enslenii Tratt.
Rubus exemptus L.H. Bailey
Rubus frustratus L.H. Bailey
Rubus geophilus Blanch.
Rubus jaysmithii L.H. Bailey var. angustior L.H. Bailey
Rubus longipes Fernald
Rubus maltei L.H. Bailey
Rubus neonefrens L.H. Bailey
Rubus occultus L.H. Bailey
Rubus procumbens Muhl.
Rubus sailori L.H. Bailey
Rubus serenus L.H. Bailey
Rubus subuniflorus Rydb.
Rubus tetricus L.H. Bailey
Rubus tracyi L.H. Bailey
Rubus urbanianus L.H. Bailey
Rubus villosus Aiton

 

CONFIRMATION STATUS: Confirmed.

 

TAXONOMY: The currently accepted scientific name of common dew-
berry is Rubus flagellaris Willd.

 

NATIVE STATUS: Native, United States and Canada.

 

GENERAL BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS: This native woody
vine produces stems up to 15' long that trail along the ground; some of the
flowering stems are more erect and up to 4' tall. Old stems are brown and
woody with scattered hooked prickles. Young stems are green with scatter-
ed hooked prickles; they are also more or less hairy. Alternate compound
leaves occur at intervals along the stems. They are usually trifoliate with 3
leaflets; less often, compound leaves with 5 leaflets occur. These leaflets are
up to 3" long and 1" across; they are ovate, doubly serrate along the mar-
gins, and mostly hairless. The underside of each leaflet is pale green, rather
than white or velvety. Most leaflets have wedge-shaped bottoms and tips
that taper gradually. The terminal leaflet has a short petiole (petiolule),
while the lateral leaflets are sessile. Each compound leaf is connected to the
stem by a long petiole. At the base of this petiole, there is a pair of small
linear stipules. Young stems often terminate in a corymb of 1-5 flowers.
Each flower is about 1" across when fully open; it consists of 5 white petals,
5 lanceolate green sepals, and numerous stamens that surround a green
cluster of carpels. The petals are longer than the sepals and they often
have a somewhat wrinkled appearance. The flowers open up during the day
and close at night. Each fertilized flower is replaced by a compound drupe
up to 1" long that is longer than it is broad. A fully ripened drupe becomes
purple-black or black and has a tart-sweet flavor. This drupe does not de-
tach from its receptacle easily. The root system consists of a woody taproot.
This woody vine spreads by reseeding itself; sometimes, the tips of young
stems will root in the ground, forming vegetative offsets.

 

REGENERATION PROCESS: Common dewberry propogates itself by
reseeding and, occassionally, by vegetative reproduction.

 

SITE CHARACTERISTICS: This plant typically grows in partial sun

and mesic to dry conditions. It tolerates different kinds of soil, including

those containing loam, clay-loam, sand, or rocky material. Full sun is also

tolerated.

 

SUCCESSIONAL STATUS: Common dewberry can be an aggressive
early inhabitant of disturbed or abandonded areas, and will successfully
grow in the marginal boundaries of woodlands. It will grow in later succes-
sional stages, but is generally not found in forest situations of heavy shade.

 

SEASONAL DEVELOPMENT: The blooming period occurs from mid-
spring to early summer and lasts about 2 months.

 

GENERAL DISTRIBUTION: Common dewberry is found throughout
the eastern parts of the United States and Canada (excepting Newfound-
land), from Florida to the Canadian maritime provinces, and its range
extends westward to Texas and north to Nebraska. It is not naturally
found in the far southwestern, Pacific, or northwestern states, nor in the
northern Great Plains or Rocky Mountain states or provinces.

 

SKY MEADOWS DISTRIBUTION:

 

Shrub specimens can be found on trails marked in red.

 

       Bleak House
       Appalachian Trail/Old Trail
       South Ridge/North Ridge
       Gap Run
       Snowden
       Woodpecker Lane

       Sherman's Mill
       Rolling Meadows/ Lost Mountain
       Fish Pond

 

HABITAT TYPES AND PLANT COMMUNITIES: Habitats include
mesic to dry savannas and sandy savannas, woodland borders, meadows
in wooded areas, and abandoned fields. Occasional wildfires that remove
tall woody vegetation tends to increase the population of common dew-
berry.

 

IMPORTANCE AND USES: The flowers attract both long-tongued and
short-tongued bees, including honeybees, bumblebees, Mason bees, Leaf-
Cutting bees, Cuckoo bees (Nomadine), and Miner bees (Eucerine). These
insects suck nectar or collect pollen. The flowers also attract butterflies,
skippers, and various flies. Insects that feed on various parts of common
dewberry and other Rubus spp. include Siphonophora rubi (blackberry
aphid; sucks juices), Edwardsiana rosae (rose leafhopper; sucks juices),
Metallus rubi (blackberry leafminer; sawfly maggot tunnels through
leaves), Agrilus ruficollis (red-necked cane borer; beetle grub bores
through stems), and the caterpillars of many moths. The drupes of com-
mon dewberry and other Rubus spp. are an important source of summer
food to many upland gamebirds and songbirds. The raccoon, fox squirrel,
eastern chipmunk, white-footed mouse, and other mammals also eat the
fruits, while the cottontail rabbit and white-tailed deer browse on the
leaves and stems.

 

 

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