South Dakota Native Plant Research
Rosaceae : Rubus parviflorus

Rosaceae : Rubus parviflorus


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Common Name



Rubus parviflorus is a perennial shrub that spreads by rhizomes, with erect, unarmed stems 0.5-3 m long, the younger stems having glandular hairs and the older stems developing gray, exfoliating bark. The simple, alternate leaves are palmately lobed, 6-20 cm long and 11-18 cm wide, and the leaf margins are doubly toothed. The petioles are 6-15 cm long, often with glandular hairs, with attached, lanceolate stipules, 5-12 mm long. the inflorescence is a terminal cluster of 3-7 flowers. The flowers have a small hypanthium with 5 sepals, 10-16 mm long, with a tail-like appendage about ½ the length , and 5white, obovate petals, 2-2.5 cm long. there are numerous stamens and many, simple pistils that are inserted in a conical receptacle. The fruit is a thimble-like aggregate of red drupelets that fall as a unit leaving the persistent receptacle. Thimbleberries bloom from May into July in open woods, hillsides and along streambanks in western South Dakota.

Additional Notes

Thimbleberries are a mild tasting, raspberry-like fruit that must be carefully picked, as they fall off of the receptacle with the slightest touch. The plants provide a great covering on hillsides and along water features, the flowers are large, showy and attract hummingbirds, bees and butterflies. Thimbleberries do not tolerate high temperatures and do best in cool climates.

Horticulture Notes

Seed collection: Collect fruit when ripe from June to August, when the fruits are bright red. Remove the seeds from the fleshy pulp.

Germination: Fall sowing provides the best seed germination rate.

Vegetative propagation: New shoots from rhizomes can be divided and transplanted.

Soils: Well drained organically rich, preferably slightly acidic soils.

Light: Full sun to partial shade.

Water: Moist to medium dry.

Rosaceae : Rubus parviflorus