Thursday, May 20, 2010

Dewberry (Rubus trivialis)

Dewberry is a low-growing, trailing bramble that bears blackberry-like fruit.  White, five-petaled flowers appear in early spring and are followed by small fruit which are eaten by birds and small mammals.  Humans also enjoy the fruit, but due to its small size, it takes a large quantity of fruit to make a bowl full.  Fruit can be eaten fresh, or made into jams or pies if sufficient quantity can be picked.

Dewberries thrive in poor soils but reportedly fruit better when given an application of fertilizer in the fall.  The flowers and fruit appear on the vines from the previous year's growth.  The preferred exposure is sun or dappled shade.  Due to their low trailing habit, wild plants are most visible when in bloom.

The entire plant is covered with small prickles so it is necessary to wear gloves when cultivating the plant or picking the fruit.

Rubus trivialis is native to most of the southeast quadrant of the U. S.  There are several closely related species and the taxonomy of this group of plants is not completely resolved.
Some people make a tea from the dried leaves.  The fruit also yields a purple to dull blue dye.


Indoor Fountains said...

another great post! thanks for sharing :-)

AaronVFT said...

I love the white flowers! And the berries looks cute!

. . . Lisa and Robb . . . said...

We used to pick dewberries in Maryland, when I was little.