Rubus hispidus L.

bristly blackberry, swamp dewberry

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New England Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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North America Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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Facts About

Bristly blackberry is a common trailing species partial to wet habitats. Its arching stems bear three-parted compound leaves and are armed with numerous bristles that are narrow at the base. The stems can root at the tips, producing new stems. The fruits of bristly blackberry are eaten by many species of birds.

Habitat

Anthropogenic (man-made or disturbed habitats), forest edges, meadows and fields, swamps, wetland margins (edges of wetlands), woodlands

Characteristics

Habitat
  • terrestrial
  • wetlands
New England state
  • Connecticut
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont
Growth form
  • the plant is a liana (i.e., a woody plant with a vine-like growth form)
  • the plant is a shrub (i.e., a woody plant with several stems growing from the base)
Leaf type
the leaf blade is compound (i.e., made up of two or more discrete leaflets
Leaves per node
there is one leaf per node along the stem
Leaf blade edges
the edge of the leaf blade has teeth
Leaf duration
  • the leaves drop off in winter (or they wither but persist on the plant)
  • the leaves remain green all winter
armature on plant
the plant has spines, prickles, or thorns
Leaf blade length
60–90 mm
Leaf blade width
60–90 mm
Leaf stalk
the leaves have leaf stalks
Fruit type (general)
the fruit is fleshy
Bark texture
the bark of an adult plant is thin and smooth
Twig winter color
  • orange
  • red
Bud scale number
there are three or more scales on the winter bud, and they overlap like shingles, with one edge covered and the other edge exposed
Show All Characteristics
  • Buds or leaf scars
    Bud scale number
    there are three or more scales on the winter bud, and they overlap like shingles, with one edge covered and the other edge exposed
    Bud scar shape (Fraxinus)
    NA
    Collateral buds
    there are no collateral buds on the sides of the branches
    Leaf scar arrangement
    there is one leaf scar per node on the stem or twig
    Superposed buds
    there are no superposed buds on the branch
    Winter bud stalks
    the winter buds have no stalks
  • Flowers
    Carpels fused
    • the carpel is solitary or (if 2 or more) the carpels are not fused to one another
    • the carpels are fused to one another
    Enlarged sterile flowers
    there are no enlarged sterile flowers on the plant
    Flower petal color
    white
    Flower symmetry
    there are two or more ways to evenly divide the flower (the flower is radially symmetrical)
    Hairs on ovary (Amelanchier)
    NA
    Hypanthium present
    the flower has a hypanthium
    Inflorescence hairs
    there are no hairs on the inflorescence
    Inflorescence type
    • the inflorescence is a corymb (with long lower branches and shorter upper branches, giving it a more or less flat-topped look)
    • the inflorescence is a raceme (a long unbranched stem with stalked flowers growing along it)
    Number of pistils
    6 or more
    Ovary position
    the ovary is above the point of petal and/or sepal attachment
    Petal and sepal arrangement
    the flower includes two cycles of petal- or sepal-like structures
    Petal appearance
    the petals are thin and delicate, and pigmented (colored other than green or brown)
    Petal fusion
    the perianth parts are separate
    Sepal appearance
    the sepals resemble leaves in color and texture
    Sepal cilia (Ilex)
    NA
    Sepal tip glands
    there are no glands at the tips of the sepal lobes
    Sepals fused only to sepals
    the sepals are separate from one another
    Stamen number
    13 or more
    Stamens fused
    the stamens are not fused to one another
  • Fruits or seeds
    Berry color
    • NA
    • black
    Fruit tissue origin
    there are no flower parts that form part of the fruit
    Fruit type (general)
    the fruit is fleshy
    Fruit type (specific)
    • the fruit is a berry (fleshy, with the wall enclosing one or more sections, with two or more seeds)
    • the fruit is a drupe (fleshy, with a firm inner ovary wall that encloses a single seed)
    • the fruit is an aggregate (composed of multiple fused ovaries from one flower)
    Nut with spines (Fagaceae)
    NA
    Wings on fruit
    there are no wings on the fruit
  • Glands or sap
    Sap color
    the sap is clear and watery
    Stalked glands on fruit (Rosa)
    NA
  • Growth form
    Growth form
    • the plant is a liana (i.e., a woody plant with a vine-like growth form)
    • the plant is a shrub (i.e., a woody plant with several stems growing from the base)
  • Leaves
    Hairs on upper side of leaf blade
    the upper side of the leaf is not hairy, or has very few hairs
    Leaf blade base shape
    • the base of the leaf blade is cuneate (wedge-shaped, tapers to the base with relatively straight, converging edges), or narrow
    • the base of the leaf blade is rounded
    • the base of the leaf blade is truncate (ends abruptly in a more or less straight line as though cut off)
    Leaf blade base symmetry
    the leaf blade base is symmetrical
    Leaf blade bloom
    the underside of the leaf has no noticeable bloom
    Leaf blade edges
    the edge of the leaf blade has teeth
    Leaf blade edges (Acer)
    NA
    Leaf blade flatness
    the leaf is flat (planar) at the edges
    Leaf blade hairs
    NA
    Leaf blade length
    60–90 mm
    Leaf blade scales
    there are no scales on the leaf blades
    Leaf blade shape
    • the leaf blade is oblong (rectangular but with rounded ends)
    • the leaf blade is obovate (egg-shaped, but with the widest point above the middle of the leaf blade)
    • the leaf blade is orbicular (roughly circular, as wide as long)
    • the leaf blade is ovate (widest below the middle and broadly tapering at both ends)
    • the leaf blade is rhombic (roughly diamond-shaped)
    Leaf blade texture
    the leaf blade is coriaceous (has a firm, leathery texture)
    Leaf blade translucent dots
    there are no translucent dots on the leaf blade
    Leaf blade vein pattern
    the main veins of the leaf blade are pinnate (the secondary veins branch off at intervals from the main central vein) and non-arcuate (not arched towards the leaf tip)
    Leaf blade veins
    the leaf blade has one main vein running from the base toward the tip
    Leaf blade width
    60–90 mm
    Leaf duration
    • the leaves drop off in winter (or they wither but persist on the plant)
    • the leaves remain green all winter
    Leaf form
    the plant is broad-leaved (with broadly flattened leaf blades)
    Leaf lobe tips (Quercus)
    NA
    Leaf midrib glands
    the midrib of the leaf blade lacks glands on the upper surface
    Leaf stalk
    the leaves have leaf stalks
    Leaf stalk attachment to leaf
    the petiole attaches at the basal margin of the leaf blade
    Leaf stalk nectaries
    there are no nectaries on the leaf stalk
    Leaf stalk shape
    the leaf stalk is not flattened
    Leaf teeth
    the leaf blade margin is serrate (with forward-pointing) or dentate (with outward-pointing) with medium-sized to coarse teeth
    Leaf teeth hairs (Carya)
    NA
    Leaf type
    the leaf blade is compound (i.e., made up of two or more discrete leaflets
    Leaves per node
    there is one leaf per node along the stem
    Specific leaf type
    the leaf is compound, with three leaflets
    Stipules
    the plant has stipules
  • Place
    Habitat
    • terrestrial
    • wetlands
    New England state
    • Connecticut
    • Maine
    • Massachusetts
    • New Hampshire
    • Rhode Island
    • Vermont
    Specific habitat
    • edges of forests
    • edges of wetlands
    • man-made or disturbed habitats
    • meadows or fields
    • swamps
    • woodlands
  • Scent
    Plant odor
    the plant does not have much of an odor, or it has an unpleasant or repellant odor
  • Stem, shoot, branch
    Aerial roots
    the plant has no aerial roots
    Bark texture
    the bark of an adult plant is thin and smooth
    Branch brittleness (willows only)
    NA
    Branch cross-section
    the branch is circular in cross-section, or it has five or more sides, so that there are no sharp angles
    First-year cane (Rubus)
    the first year cane stems are doming (arched over to touch the ground at their tips) to trailing (lying along the ground or neighboring vegetation)
    Lenticels on twigs
    there are no lenticels on the twigs, or they are very hard to see
    Pith shape
    the outline of the pith in a twig is roughly round
    Short shoots
    there are no peg- or knob-like shoots present
    Twig bloom
    there is no bloom on the twig
    Twig hairs
    the twigs have hairs with glands at their tips
    Twig papillae (Vaccinium species only)
    NA
    Twig scales
    there are no scales on the twig surface
    Twig winter color
    • orange
    • red
    Wings on branch
    the branch does not have wings on it
    armature on plant
    the plant has spines, prickles, or thorns

Wetland Status

Usually occurs in wetlands, but occasionally in non-wetlands. (Wetland indicator code: FACW)

New England Distribution and Conservation Status

Distribution

Connecticut
present
Maine
present
Massachusetts
present
New Hampshire
present
Rhode Island
present
Vermont
present

Conservation Status

Exact status definitions can vary from state to state. For details, please check with your state.

Massachusetts
unranked (S-rank: SNR)

Native to North America?

Yes

Sometimes Confused With

Rubus vermontanus:
stems upright to arching and sometimes trailing near tip, the first-year vegetative stems with leaves that have usually 5 deciduous leaflets that are acute to acuminate at the apex (vs. R. hispidus, with stems extensively trailing, the first-year vegetative stems with leaves usually with 3 somewhat evergreen leaflets that are obtuse to acute at the apex).

Synonyms

  • Rubus cubitans Blanch.
  • Rubus pervarius (Bailey) Bailey
  • Rubus spiculosus Fern.

Family

Rosaceae

Genus

Rubus

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Information from Dichotomous Key of Flora Novae Angliae

14.  Rubus hispidus L. N

bristly blackberry. Rubus cubitans Blanch.; R. pervarius (Bailey) Bailey; R. spiculosus Fern. 
• CT, MA, ME, NH, RI, VT. Fields, roadsides, woodlands, swamps, wetland margins, forest borders, open-rights-of-way, borrow pits. This species rarely has stipitate-glands along the axis of the inflorescence. When present, the stipitate-glands are usually sparse and of uniform length.

1×14. Rubus allegheniensis × Rubus hispidus This rare blackberry hybrid is known from MA, ME, NH, VT. It is marked by variably oriented primocanes (erect, doming, or trailing) armed with both short, stiff, curved prickles (but usually thinner than in typical R. allegheniensis) and stipitate-glands, subcoriaceous and lustrous, ovate to elliptic leaflets that are pubescent abaxially, 
and a small- to medium-sized inflorescence. The petals are relatively small (close to 
 R. hispidus). Tentative synonyms: Rubus biformispinus Blanch.; R. electus Bailey; 
 R. jactus Bailey; R. laevior (Bailey) Fern.; R. permixtus Blanch.; R. sanfordii Bailey.

12×14. Rubus flagellaris × Rubus hispidus This rare blackberry hybrid is known from ME. It has primocane leaves with thick leaflets, the leaflets usually numbering 3 but often the lateral leaflets with a lobe on the outer, basal margin (these lobes variably developed, sometimes the leaf with 5 total leaflets). The primocane stems are armed with both prickles and bristles. Tentative synonym: Rubus mainensis Bailey.

13×14. Rubus frondosus × Rubus hispidus This very rare blackberry hybrid is known from MA. It has primocanes with a mixture of small-based and broad-based prickles that are collectively abundant and abaxially pubescent leaves. The inflorescences have few, relatively small flowers.

14×17. Rubus hispidus × Rubus jaysmithii This very rare blackberry hybrid is known from RI. It is intermediate between its parental species.

14×25. Rubus hispidus × Rubus recurvicaulis This rare blackberry hybrid is known from MA, NH. It is marked by primocanes with trailing habit, primocane leaves with 3 or 5 leaflets that are chartaceous and not lustrous, stems armed with short prickles, bristles, and stipitate-glands, and short, compact, 6- to 10-flowered inflorescences up to 4 cm long.

14×26. Rubus hispidus × Rubus semisetosus This very rare blackberry hybrid is known from MA. The primocanes are armed with mostly 100–300 bristles and small-based prickles per 10 cm and bear leaves with 3–5 oblong-ovate to ovate leaflets that are not lustrous (as in Rubus hispidus) and are abaxially pubescent on the midrib and primary lateral veins and sparsely so between them. It is very similar to R. hispidus ×R. vermontanus but has a greater degree of pubescence on the leaf blades.

14×27. Rubus hispidus × Rubus setosus This uncommon blackberry hybrid is known from MA, ME, NH, VT. It is marked by doming or trailing primocanes armed with abundant prickles, bristles, and stipitate-glands (mostly 2000–3000 per 10 cm), leaves with 3 or 5 sublustrous leaflets, and inflorescences with some stipitate-glands along the axis. Considered by Steele and Hodgdon (1970) to be one of the most common blackberry hybrids in New England. Tentative synonyms: Rubus adjacens Fern.; R. alter Bailey; R. blanchardianus Bailey; 
R. harmonicus Bailey; R. jacens Blanch.; R. pudens Bailey; R. rixosus Bailey; R. tholiformis Fern.; R. trifrons Blanch.; R. vigoratus Bailey.

14×28. Rubus hispidus × Rubus vermontanus This uncommon blackberry hybrid is known from MA, ME, NH, VT. It closely resembles Rubus hispidus ×R. setosus but has some prickles that are slightly more stout and curved (in addition to the numerous bristles and stipitate-glands). Tentative synonym: Rubus viridifrons Bailey.