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Rubus is a large genus of flowering plants in the rose family, Rosaceae, subfamily Rosoideae. Raspberries, blackberries, and dewberries are common, widely distributed members of the genus. Most of these plants have woody stems with prickles like roses; spines, bristles, and gland-tipped hairs are also common in the genus. The Rubus fruit, sometimes called a bramble fruit, is an aggregate of drupelets. The term "cane fruit" (or "cane-fruit") applies to any Rubus species or hybrid which is commonly grown with supports such as wires or canes, including raspberries, blackberries, and hybrids such as loganberry, boysenberry and tayberry.
The blackberries, as well as various other Rubus species with mounding or rambling growth habits, are often called brambles. However, this name is not used for those like the raspberry that grow as upright canes, or for trailing or prostrate species, such as most dewberries, or various low-growing boreal, arctic, or alpine species.
The scientific study of brambles is known as "batology".
Examples of the hundreds, if not thousands, of species of Rubus include:
- Rubus allegheniensis – Allegheny blackberry
- Rubus arcticus – Arctic raspberry
- Rubus armeniacus – Himalayan blackberry
- Rubus caesius – European dewberry
- Rubus canadensis – Canadian blackberry
- Rubus chamaemorus – Cloudberry
- Rubus coreanus - Bokbunja
- Rubus cuneifolius – sand blackberry
- Rubus fruticosus agg. – blackberry
- Rubus glaucifolius - San Diego raspberry
- Rubus hayata-koidzumii (R. calycinoides) – creeping raspberry
- Rubus hochstetterorum - Azorean blackberry
- Rubus idaeus – European red raspberry
- Rubus laciniatus - cutleaf evergreen blackberry
- Rubus lasiococcus - roughfruit berry
- Rubus leucodermis – whitebark raspberry or western raspberry
- Rubus occidentalis – black raspberry
- Rubus odoratus – flowering raspberry
- Rubus parviflorus – thimbleberry
- Rubus parvifolius - small-leaf bramble (Australia)
- Rubus pensilvanicus – Pennsylvania blackberry
- Rubus phoenicolasius – wineberry
- Rubus pubescens - dwarf red blackberry
- Rubus saxatilis – stone bramble
- Rubus spectabilis – salmonberry
- Rubus strigosus – American red raspberry
- Rubus trifidus - Japanese blackberry
- Rubus ursinus – trailing blackberry
The term "hybrid berry" is often used collectively for those fruits in the genus Rubus which have been developed mainly in the USA and UK in the last 130 years. As Rubus species readily interbreed and are apomicts (able to set seed without fertilisation), the parentage of these plants is often highly complex, but is generally agreed to include cultivars of blackberries, (Rubus ursinus, R. fruticosus) and raspberries (R. idaeus).
The hybrid berries include:-
- Loganberry (California, USA, 1883) R. × loganobaccus, a spontaneous cross between R. ursinus 'Aughinbaugh' and R. idaeus 'Red Antwerp'
- Boysenberry (USA, 1920s) a cross between R. idaeus and R. × loganobaccus
- Veitchberry (Europe, 1930s) a cross between R. fruticosus and R. idaeus
- Marionberry (1956) now thought to be a blackberry cultivar R. 'Marion'
- Silvanberry, R. 'Silvan', a cross between R. 'Marion' and boysenberry
- Tayberry (Dundee, Scotland, 1979), another blackberry/raspberry cross
- Tummelberry, R. 'Tummel', from the same Scottish breeding programme as tayberry
- Hildaberry (1980s), a tayberry/boysenberry cross discovered by an amateur grower
The genus Rubus is a very complex one, particularly the blackberry/dewberry subgenus (Rubus), with polyploidy, hybridization, and facultative apomixis apparently all frequently occurring, making species classification of the great variation in the subgenus one of the grand challenges of systematic botany.
Rubus species have a basic chromosome number of seven. Polyploidy from the diploid (14 chromosomes) to the tetradecaploid (98 chromosomes) is exhibited.
Some treatments have recognized dozens of species each for what other, comparably qualified botanists have considered single, more variable species. On the other hand, species in the other Rubus subgenera (such as the raspberries) are generally distinct, or else involved in more routine one-or-a-few taxonomic debates, such as whether the European and American red raspberries are better treated as one species or two. (In this case, the two-species view is followed here, with Rubus idaeus and R. strigosus both recognized; if these species are combined, then the older name R. idaeus has priority for the broader species.)
Molecular data have backed up classifications based on geography and chromosome number, but following morphological data, such as the structure of the leaves and stems, do not appear to produce a phylogenetic classification.
The classification presented below recognizes 13 subgenera within Rubus, with the largest subgenus (Rubus) in turn divided into 12 sections. Representative examples are presented, but many more species are not mentioned here.
- "Rubus L.". Germplasm Resources Information Network. United States Department of Agriculture. 2007-10-05. Retrieved 2010-06-27.
- "Rubus L.". TROPICOS. Missouri Botanical Garden. Retrieved 2010-06-27.
- Klein, Carol (2009). Grow your own fruit. United Kingdom: Mitchell Beazley. p. 224. ISBN 9781845334345.
- Quattrocchi, Umberto (2000). CRC World Dictionary of Plant Names. IV R-Z. Taylor & Francis US. p. 2345. ISBN 978-0-8493-2678-3.
- Ardle, John (July 2013). "Hybris vigour". The Garden.
- Lawrence A. Alice and Christopher S. Campbell (1999). "Phylogeny of Rubus (rosaceae) based on nuclear ribosomal DNA internal transcribed spacer region sequences". American Journal of Botany (Botanical Society of America) 86 (1): 81–97. doi:10.2307/2656957. JSTOR 2656957. PMID 21680348.