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Rubus idaeus
Rubus idaeus (Wild Raspberry)
Rosaceae (Rose Family)

Montane, subalpine. Openings, scree. Summer.
Lower Scotch Creek Road, June 25, 2000.

Sometimes in dense patches, sometimes sparsely scattered, Wild Raspberries are common in the San Juans and other mountains of the Four Corners area. Their berries ripen in late summer/fall and in good years can be enjoyed by the handful. Too often, however, bushes bear few fruits and, even more often, wild critters get the fruits before humans do.  

"Rubus", the ancient Latin name for the plant, describes the color of the berries: red.  "Idaeus" honors Mount Ida, south of the ancient city of Troy.  This plant was named Rubus idaeus by Linnaeus in 1753 and it has had dozens of names since then.  The North American variety of this species is very similar to the European one that Linnaeus saw.

Rubus idaeus
Rubus idaeus (Wild Raspberry)
Rosaceae (Rose Family)

Montane, subalpine. Openings, scree. Summer.
Horse Creek Trail, June 21, 2005.

Rubus idaeus

Rubus idaeus

Rubus idaeus (Wild Raspberry)
Rosaceae (Rose Family)

Montane, subalpine. Openings, scree. Summer.
Horse Creek Trail, June 21, 2005.

Rubus idaeus

Rubus idaeus

Rubus idaeus (Wild Raspberry)
Rosaceae (Rose Family)

Montane, subalpine. Openings, scree. Summer.
Horse Creek Trail, October 8, 2014.

 

Rubus parviflorus variety parviflorus
Rubus parviflorus variety parviflorus. Synonym: Rubacer parviflorum. (Thimbleberry)
Rosaceae (Rose Family)

Montane, subalpine. Woodlands, disturbed areas. Spring, summer.
West Mancos Trail, June 24, 2008.

"Parviflorus" means "small flowered", which Thimbleberry definitely isn’t, for it has flowers that are several inches in diameter.  Everything else about the plant is also big: it grows in extensive patches, it sometimes reaches six feet tall, its leaves are commonly 6-8 inches wide, and its berries are up to 3/4 inch wide with a very big rich fruity taste.

The Rubus (and Rubacer) genera names are more accurate: "ruber" is "red’ which the fruits definitely are, and "acer" refers to the maple-like leaf. (Acer is a large genus formerly in the Maple Family (Aceraceae).

Linnaeus named the Rubus genus in 1753.  Thomas Nuttall was the first to collect this species for science; he found it in 1811 on an island in Lake Huron and named it Rubus parviflorus in his 1818 Genera of North American Plants. (Click the title to read.)   Per Axel Rydberg created a new genus, Rubacer, for this plant in 1903.

Rubus parviflorus variety parviflorus

Rubus parviflorus

Rubus parviflorus variety parviflorus. Synonym: Rubacer parviflorum. (Thimbleberry)
Rosaceae (Rose Family)

Montane, subalpine. Woodlands, disturbed areas. Spring, summer.
Ouray Perimeter Trail, September 30, 2010 and
Horse Creek Trail, October 8, 2014.

Fall colors of Rubus parviflorus are subtle yellows and golden-browns.

Rubus parviflorus variety parviflorus
Rubus parviflorus variety parviflorus. Synonym: Rubacer parviflorum. (Thimbleberry)
Rosaceae (Rose Family)

Montane, subalpine. Woodlands, disturbed areas. Spring, summer.
West Mancos Trail, June 24, 2008.

Range map © John Kartesz,
Floristic Synthesis of North America

State Color Key

Species present in state and native
Species present in state and exotic
Species not present in state

County Color Key

Species present and not rare
Species present and rare
Species extirpated (historic)
Species extinct
Species noxious
Species exotic and present
Native species, but adventive in state
Eradicated
Questionable presence

Range map for Rubus idaeus  

Range map for Rubus parviflorus