Raspberries, blackberries, and dewberries are common, widely distributed members of the genus. Most of these plants have woody stems with prickles like roses; spines, bristles, and gland-tipped hairs are also common in the genus. The Rubus fruit, sometimes called a bramble fruit, is an aggregate of drupelets. The term "cane fruit" (or "cane-fruit"), or "cane berry" (or "caneberry"), applies to any Rubus species or hybrid which is commonly grown with supports such as wires or canes, including raspberries, blackberries, and hybrids such as loganberry, boysenberry, marionberry and tayberry. The stems of such plants are also referred to as canes.
The blackberries, as well as various other Rubus species with mounding or rambling growth habits, are often called brambles. However, this name is not used for those like the raspberry that grow as upright canes, or for trailing or prostrate species, such as most dewberries, or various low-growing boreal, arctic, or alpine species.
The scientific study of brambles is known as "batology".
Better-known species of Rubus include:
- Rubus aboriginum – garden dewberry
- Rubus allegheniensis – Allegheny blackberry
- Rubus arcticus – Arctic raspberry
- Rubus argutus
- Rubus armeniacus – Himalayan blackberry
- Rubus caesius – European dewberry
- Rubus canadensis – Canadian blackberry
- Rubus chamaemorus – cloudberry
- Rubus cockburnianus
- Rubus coreanus – bokbunja
- Rubus crataegifolius
- Rubus deliciosus
- Rubus domingensis
- Rubus ellipticus
- Rubus flagellaris – northern dewberry
- Rubus fraxinifolius – mountain raspberry
- Rubus glaucus
- Rubus hawaiensis
- Rubus hayata-koidzumii
- Rubus hispidus – swamp dewberry
- Rubus idaeus – European red raspberry
- Rubus illecebrosus
- Rubus laciniatus – cutleaf evergreen blackberry
- Rubus leucodermis – whitebark raspberry or western black raspberry
- Rubus moluccanus
- Rubus nepalensis
- Rubus nivalis
- Rubus niveus
- Rubus occidentalis – black raspberry
- Rubus odoratus – flowering raspberry
- Rubus parviflorus – thimbleberry
- Rubus parvifolius – small-leaf bramble (Australia)
- Rubus pedatus
- Rubus pensilvanicus – Pennsylvania blackberry
- Rubus phoenicolasius – wine raspberry or wineberry
- Rubus plicatus
- Rubus probus
- Rubus pubescens – dwarf red blackberry
- Rubus rosifolius
- Rubus saxatilis – stone bramble
- Rubus spectabilis – salmonberry
- Rubus strigosus – American red raspberry
- Rubus tricolor
- Rubus ulmifolius
- Rubus ursinus – trailing blackberry
The term "hybrid berry" is often used collectively for those fruits in the genus Rubus which have been developed mainly in the U.S. and U.K. in the last 130 years. As Rubus species readily interbreed and are apomicts (able to set seed without fertilisation), the parentage of these plants is often highly complex, but is generally agreed to include cultivars of blackberries (Rubus ursinus, R. fruticosus) and raspberries (R. idaeus). The British National Collection of Rubus stands at over 200 species and, although not within the scope of the National Collection, also hold many cultivars.
The hybrid berries include:-
- loganberry (California, U.S., 1883) R. × loganobaccus, a spontaneous hybrid between R. ursinus 'Aughinbaugh' and R. idaeus 'Red Antwerp'
- boysenberry (U.S., 1920s) a hybrid between R. idaeus and R. × loganobaccus
- olallieberry (U.S., 1930s) a hybrid between the loganberry and youngberry, themselves both hybrid berries
- veitchberry (Europe, 1930s) a hybrid between R. fruticosus and R. idaeus
- skellyberry (Texas, U.S., 2000s), a hybrid between R. invisus and R. phoenicolasius
- marionberry (1956) now thought to be a blackberry cultivar R. 'Marion'
- silvanberry, R. 'Silvan', a hybrid between R. 'Marion' and the boysenberry
- tayberry (Dundee, Scotland, 1979), another blackberry/raspberry hybrid
- tummelberry, R. 'Tummel', from the same Scottish breeding programme as the tayberry
- hildaberry (1980s), a tayberry/boysenberry hybrid discovered by an amateur grower
- youngberry, a complex hybrid of raspberries, blackberries, and dewberries
The genus Rubus is a very complex one, particularly the blackberry/dewberry subgenus (Rubus), with polyploidy, hybridization, and facultative apomixis apparently all frequently occurring, making species classification of the great variation in the subgenus one of the grand challenges of systematic botany.
Rubus species have a basic chromosome number of seven. Polyploidy from the diploid (14 chromosomes) to the tetradecaploid (98 chromosomes) is exhibited.
Some treatments have recognized dozens of species each for what other, comparably qualified botanists have considered single, more variable species. On the other hand, species in the other Rubus subgenera (such as the raspberries) are generally distinct, or else involved in more routine one-or-a-few taxonomic debates, such as whether the European and American red raspberries are better treated as one species or two (in this case, the two-species view is followed here, with Rubus idaeus and R. strigosus both recognized; if these species are combined, then the older name R. idaeus has priority for the broader species).
Molecular data have backed up classifications based on geography and chromosome number, but following morphological data, such as the structure of the leaves and stems, do not appear to produce a phylogenetic classification.
The classification presented below recognizes 13 subgenera within Rubus, with the largest subgenus (Rubus) in turn divided into 12 sections. Representative examples are presented, but many more species are not mentioned here. A comprehensive 2019 study found subgenera Orobatus and Anoplobatus to be monophyletic, while all other subgenera to be paraphyletic or polyphyletic.
The genus has a likely North American origin, with fossils known from the Eocene aged Florissant Formation of Colorado. Rubus expanded into Eurasia, South America, and Oceania during the Miocene. Fossil seeds from the early Miocene of Rubus have been found in the Czech part of the Zittau Basin.  Many fossil fruits of †Rubus laticostatus, †Rubus microspermus and †Rubus semirotundatus have been extracted from bore hole samples of the Middle Miocene fresh water deposits in Nowy Sacz Basin, West Carpathians, Poland.
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