Dewberry

Rubus flagellaris

dewberry_rubus_flagellaris.jpg

Illustration of dewberry leaves, flowers, fruits.
Dewberry, Rubus flagellaris.
Paul Nelson
Thorny
Edible
Family

Rosaceae (roses)

Description

Dewberry is a trailing woody vine with curved prickles, rooting at the cane tips. Young stems are green; older stems are brownish and woody. Flowers in small groups or sometimes single, on long stems, white with whitish centers, the stems often subtended by a small leaf. Typical rose-family flowers with 5 sepals and 5 petals with many stamens. Blooms April–June. Leaves alternate, compound, mostly 3-divided, broadly oval with coarse teeth. The 2 lateral leaflets sometimes have a pointed lobe each. Fruit edible, resembling a blackberry.

Common blackberry (R. allegheniensis) is similar but is more bushy, with taller, more erect stems.

Size

Height: to about 4 feet; the trailing stems can reach 3 times that distance.

dewberry_01-01-14.jpg

Photo of dewberry flowers
Dewberry
Dewberry is a lot like common blackberry, except that instead of being a small shrub, its canes form trailing woody vines.
Habitat and conservation

Occurs in fields, prairies, abandoned pastures, thickets, fencerows, and rights-of-way.

image of Dewberry distribution map
Distribution in Missouri

Statewide.

Human connections

The fruits are deliciously edible. Members of the rose family are tremendously important economically and include many berries, almonds, stone fruits, and other tree fruits such as apples, plus numerous ornamental plants such as roses, crab apples, hawthorns, and spiraeas.

Ecosystem connections

Many types of birds, including catbirds, waxwings, and finches, relish such fruits, as do raccoon, opossum, mice, and even box turtles. Fortunately for the wild animals, human Missourians today usually get their fruits from a store, leaving the wild harvest for the wild creatures.