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Easy to recognize due to its large, maple-like leaves and long-blooming, large purple-pink flowers, this thornless 3-6’ shrub has a suckering habit and is ideal for filling large spaces.  Thimbleberry (another common name) thrives in full sun to full shade and a variety of soil conditions.  Purple-pink flowers with creamy yellow centers bloom successively June-August, followed by tart purple-pink raspberries on thornless canes starting in July and finishing late October.  Flowering raspberry is self-fertile, but two or more shrubs will increase fruit production.  This mounding plant looks beautiful from spring to fall, and delicate fragrance wafts from both its flowers and leaves.  Exfoliating bark extends the plant’s beauty into winter.


Commonly found along woodland edges, in moist areas, and in partial shade.  Easily grown in large areas, although adjacent plants or paths may be desirable to contain spread.  Especially attractive when massed to form broad patches on banks and slopes or when used as low hedges or screens, in cottage gardens, and along fences.


Plant Characteristics:

Grows 3-5’ tall and wide. Suckers to form colonies.


Performs best in full sun, but grows in part shade and tolerates full shade with fewer blooms and berries.


Grows best in well-drained, gravelly, sandy, or loamy soils with medium moisture. Adapts to clay and tolerates drought and flooding.


Five-lobed, maple-like, dark green leaves with serrated edges turn pale yellow in fall.


Stems are hairy but not prickly.  Older bark exfoliates and has scent similar to cedar.

Deer resistant.


Wildlife Value:

Hosts 146 species of Lepidoptera larva, including large lace-border moth, Isabella tiger moth, blinded sphinx, crocus geometer (all pictured here in order of mention), and specialist moth lettered habrosyne.  Native and honey bees, songbirds, gamebirds, and large and small mammals visit the blooms and berries.  Native bees use the plant for nesting material.


Medicinal, Edible, and Other Uses:

The leaves have astringent properties and are used to treat intestinal problems and sore throats. Pregnant women use raspberry to prepare the uterus for contractions.  The herbal tea is used as a diuretic. 


The berries, tart and crumbly, may be eaten raw or dried for later use.  Sprinkle on cereal, oatmeal, or ice cream. The fruits may also be prepared as pies, jellies, or preserves. 


A purplish-blue dye is made from the fruits.

Raspberry, Purple-Flowering, Rubus odoratus

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