Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Purple-flowering Raspberry - Rubus odoratus   L.
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Section 6 » Order Rosales » Family Rosaceae
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DistributionThroughout the mountains, and records exist for essentially all such counties. There is also a specimen record for Randolph County, where apparently not native.

This is a Northern species, obviously, being found in essentially every county through New England, NY, and PA south in the mountains to northern GA and northeastern AL.
AbundanceFairly common to common, more so at middle to rather high elevations. Apparently absent as a native species outside the mountains.
HabitatThis species occurs generally on rich, often high pH soil, more frequent in rocky areas. It favors edges and openings of rich, rocky forests, margins of cove forests, road cuts, seepages, and other semi-open sites.
PhenologyBlooms in mid-summer, mainly June to August; fruits from July to frost.
IdentificationTo most people, this is not even similar to a blackberry and should be in its own genus, owing to a number of features. It is a small deciduous shrub, often seeming to be a large herb, growing to 2-5 feet high. It is easily recognized by the quite large maple-like leaves with 3-5 lobes, with the leaves averaging 5-6” across. When in bloom, the large rose-purple flowers, each about 1.5-2” across, definitely catch your attention. The plants are easily visible, especially in summer when blooming, as one drives the Blue Ridge Parkway or other roads passing through rich or rocky forests, as the plants favor road cuts and rocky margins.
Taxonomic CommentsA century ago it was named as Rubacer odoratum, as it looks like a cross between a blackberry and a maple! Some authorities list a few varieties, though Weakley (2018) and several other recent ones do not.

Other Common Name(s)Often named simply as Flowering Raspberry; occasionally Virginia Raspberry, Thimbleberry, Eastern Mapleleaf Raspberry
State RankS4
Global RankG5
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