Thornless Blackberry – Rubus canadensis

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Rubus canadensis is a species of flowering plant in the rose family known by the common names thornless blackberry and smooth blackberry. It is native to eastern North America including eastern Canada and the eastern United States west to Kentucky and Tennessee.

This rhizomatous shrub forms thickets up to 2 to 3 meters tall. The leaves are deciduous and alternately arranged, each measuring 10 to 20 centimeters 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 in height in under two months.

This plant 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).

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

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