Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Northern Dewberry - Rubus flagellaris   Willdenow
Members of Rosaceae:
Members of Rubus with account distribution info or public map:
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Section 6 » Order Rosales » Family Rosaceae
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DistributionOccurs statewide, and likely occurs in all 100 counties.

This species has a very wide range from southern Canada south to northern FL and parts of TX.
AbundanceCommon to very common across the state, not seemingly scarce in any areas.
HabitatThis species has a great variety of open and disturbed habitats -- old fields, clearings, wooded borders, open woods, and thickets, mainly in mesic soils.
PhenologyBlooms in April and May; fruits from May to July.
IdentificationThis is a straggling deciduous to tardily deciduous vine-like shrub, with long stems that trail on the ground for 6 feet or more. It usually has three leaflets but occasionally five. It has the same large white flowers of its more upright cousins. It has fairly numerous stout-based and curved prickles along the stems, though as the stems trail along the ground, an observer might not notice the prickles. A spiny, trailing “vine” with mostly three leaflets is most often this quite common species. One can easily trip over these stems when walking in a powerline clearing or an old field; if walking in sandals or without socks, your ankles can get heavily scratched. Two other “dewberries” (Rubus species that are trailing) are somewhat similar -- R. hispidus and R. trivialis, but they are armed only in slender and straight prickles and also may have slender bristles – not nearly as strongly “armed” as R. flagellaris.
Taxonomic CommentsWeakley (2018) provides at least 20 (!) old or out-dated synonyms! There are no varieties recently recognized.

Other Common Name(s)Trailing members of the genus Rubus have traditionally been called dewberries, as opposed to the “erect” blackberries. Alternate common names include Common Dewberry or simply Dewberry; also Northern Blackberry
State RankS5
Global RankG5
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B.A. SorrieSandhills Game Land, xeric side of County Road, June 2009. RichmondPhoto_natural
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