Open main menu

Rubus canadensis is a North American species of flowering plant in the rose family known by the common names smooth blackberry,[2] Canadian blackberry, thornless blackberry and smooth highbush blackberry.[3] It is native to central and eastern Canada (from Newfoundland to Ontario) and the eastern United States (New England, the Great Lakes region, and the Appalachian Mountains).[4][5]

Rubus canadensis
Rubus canadensis 135-8264.jpg
1909 Fitch illustration[1]

Secure (NatureServe)
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Rosales
Family: Rosaceae
Genus: Rubus
R. canadensis
Binomial name
Rubus canadensis
L. 1753 not Torr. 1824

This rhizomatous shrub forms thickets up to 2 to 3 meters (7–10 feet) tall. The leaves are deciduous and alternately arranged, each measuring 10 to 20 centimeters (4-8 inches) long. The inflorescence is a cluster of up to 25 flowers. The fruit is an aggregate of many small drupes, each of which contains a tiny nutlet. The plant reproduces by seed, by sprouting up from the rhizome, and by layering. The stems can grow one meter (40 inches) in height in under two months.[4][3]

Rubus canadensis grows in many types of forested habitat, as well as on disturbed sites. Associated plants may include mountain maple (Acer spicatum), serviceberry (Amelanchier spp.), hobblebush (Viburnum alnifolium), scarlet elder (Sambucus pubens), common blackberry (Rubus allegheniensis), beaked hazel (Corylus cornuta), southern mountain cranberry (Vaccinium erythrocarpum), minnie-bush (Menziesia pilosa), and rosebay (Rhododendron catawbiense).[4]

Many types of animals feed on the fruits and foliage of this shrub. The thickets provide cover and nesting sites.[4]

The fruits of this plant provided food for Native American groups, who also used parts of the plant medicinally at times.[6]


  1. ^ illustration from Curtis's Botanical Magazine, London., vol. 135 [= ser. 4, vol. 5]: plate 8264, lithograph by J.N.Fitch
  2. ^ "Rubus canadensis". Natural Resources Conservation Service PLANTS Database. USDA. Retrieved 24 October 2015.
  3. ^ a b Flora of North America, Rubus canadensis Linnaeus, 1753. Canadian or smooth highbush blackberry, ronce du Canada
  4. ^ a b c d Coladonato, Milo. 1994. Rubus canadensis. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory.
  5. ^ Biota of North America Program 2014 county distribution map
  6. ^ Rubus canadensis. University of Michigan Ethnobotany.

External linksEdit