Rubus flagellaris

Common Names: Common dewberry, northern dewberry
Category: Plants
Sub-category: Rubus genus

Stems up to 15 feet' long that trail along the ground; some of the flowering stems are more erect and up to 4 feet tall. Old stems are brown and woody with scattered hooked prickles. Young stems are green with scattered 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 inches long and 1 inch across; they are ovate, doubly serrate along the margins, 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 to 5 flowers. Each flower is about 1 inch 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 inch 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 detach from its receptacle easily.

Habitats include mesic to dry savannas and sandy savannas, woodland borders, meadows in wooded areas, and abandoned fields. The blooming period occurs from mid-spring to early summer and lasts about 2 months.

Primary Flower Color: White
Secondary Flower Color: White
Edible Notes: The berry is edible and with a tart-sweet flavor. Probably better for making jams and jellies than eating fresh.
Warnings: The stems have small but sharp thorns or prickles and are capable of inflicting minor injury.