Rubus flagellaris

Common Name:


Scientific Name:

Rubus flagellaris

Alternative common names:

Dewberry, prickly dewberry, American dewberry.


Bramble is a perennial subshrub species with long, low-growing stems and thorns about 1.5mm long. It can exist as a woody vine or low-growing shrub. It grows in a host of habitats, ranging from dry savannah to deciduous forests. It also produces a dark purple drupe that, when fully ripened, has a tart-sweet flavour.

Additional Information

Where does this species come from?

United States of America.

What is its invasive status in South Africa?

NEMBA Category 1b

Where in South Africa is it a problem?


How does it spread?

Berries are eaten by bird, enabling seeds to be dispersed widely via droppings.

Why is it a problem?

Can smother indigenous vines when very dense.

What does it look like?

Leaves: Found in groups of three leaflets and green in colour. The leaflets are usually 2-7cm long and 0.5-6cm wide.

Flowers:Flowers produce five petals and five small, non-showy sepals. They are small and white. Each flower is about 2.5cm wide with sepals 0.5-0.8cm long.

Fruit/seeds: The fruit (drupes) are red, maturing to black. They are 1-2.5cm long and wide. They are juicy and tart-sweet. Each drupe has one hard-pitted seed with almost no endosperm.

Does the plant have any uses?

Infusion of the root or leaf is used as a remedy for diarrhoea, hemorrhoids, sore throat and problems with joints and connective tissues. The fruit is also used to make juice and food. Native American Osage people use the roots to make a tea that calms stomach irritation.

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