Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Southern Dewberry - Rubus trivialis   Michaux
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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DistributionThough recorded at scattered sites across the entire state, mostly found in the southern half of the state, especially the southern Coastal Plain. Seemingly no records for nearly all of the northern Coastal Plain, but there are records for southeastern VA; thus, it should be expected to be found in this part of the state eventually.

This is a Southern species, ranging throughout FL and other Gulf Coast states, north only to southern VA and central MO.
AbundanceCommon in the southeastern Coastal Plain, north to about Jones County; fairly common, at least locally, west to include the Sandhills. Rare to uncommon in the southern Mountains, but generally rare in the northern half of the state, including nearly all of the Piedmont.
HabitatThis species occurs in dry, open, and disturbed habitats; wooded edges, thickets, fields, roadsides, etc.
See also Habitat Account for General Successional Fields and Forblands
PhenologyFlowers early, from March to April; fruits also very early, ripening by late April and May.
IdentificationThis is a trailing, vine-like shrub; stems reach to 2-3 feet long. It is semi-evergreen; the leaves remain all winter but turn red at that season. The stems are full of small, weak prickles, somewhat like those of R. hispidus. The prickly stems and the fairly long and narrow leaflets, somewhat rounded at both ends, should be enough to separate the species from the two other creeping Rubus species -– R. flagellaris and R. hispidus. The latter species has darker green leaves, wider leaves and especially toward the base, and has flowers in clusters as opposed to solitary in R. trivialis. Rubus hispidus typically grows in damp ground, as well, and often occurs in dense mats. Rubus flagellaris is typically a larger plant, with obviously thin, deciduous leaves that are not overly shiny above; it is also a more “armed” species, with stronger/larger prickles!
Taxonomic CommentsNone

Other Common Name(s)Coastal Plain Dewberry. Note that trailing species of Rubus are given a common group name of “dewberry”.
State RankS3 [S4]
Global RankG5
State Status
US Status
USACE-agcpFACU link
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B.A. SorrieRoadside ditch, NC 690, late May 2018. MoorePhoto_natural

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