Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Sand Blackberry - Rubus cuneifolius   Pursh
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Section 6 » Order Rosales » Family Rosaceae
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AuthorPursh
DistributionEssentially throughout the Coastal Plain and the eastern/southern Piedmont. No records for the mountains or the northwestern 2/3rds of the Piedmont; records west only to Orange and Gaston counties.

This species occurs mainly in the Atlantic and Gulf Coastal Plains, and sparingly into the Piedmont, ranging from CT on the north to southern FL and eastern LA on the south.
AbundanceCommon to abundant in the Sandhills and southern Coastal Plain. Generally frequent to common over most of the remainder of the Coastal Plain, though not common near Albemarle and Pamlico sounds. Uncommon to locally common in the Piedmont part of the range, particularly in counties close to the Coastal Plain.
HabitatIt strongly favors sandy soil, but like other blackberries it occurs along woodland borders, thickets, old fields, and other dry and semi-open habitats.
PhenologyFlowers late April to early June; fruits in June and July.
IdentificationUnlike other “erect”/bushy blackberries, this species is tardily deciduous, with leaves remaining into late autumn. Though it has long and strongly arching stems like other blackberries, and reaches maybe 4-5 feet tall, it is easily told from all others. The very thick leaves are dark green above and noticeably glaucous/white below, and quite tomentose below. The leaflets are more often in 3’s, rather than 3 or 5 like most other tall species; plus the leaflet shape is more obovate to almost spatulate, with the widest part clearly toward the apex. Though it should be easily identified by leaf shape alone, looking at the underside of the leaflets should erase any doubt about identification, regardless of the amount or strength of the prickles.
Taxonomic CommentsFormerly, several varieties were named, but these are seldom in use today.

Other Common Name(s)Generally none
State RankS5
Global RankG5
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