Saturday, June 20, 2015

Native Edibles : Flowering Raspberry - Rubus odoratus - Ronce odorante

Blooming right now are a number of the cane berries, a variety of species in the very large and economically important genus Rubus, which is in the family Rosaceae (rose family).

This genus has distinctive fruits which are aggregates (clusters that are kind of stuck together) of drupelets (fruit that consist of a fleshy layer surrounding a pit, which is composed of a shell exterior and a seed inside). This genus includes blackberries, raspberries, other cane fruit, and the star of the day: Rubus odoratus (flowering raspberry).

Rubus odoratus inflorescence
Rubus odoratus is native to North America, but has spread beyond its native range. Originally found in Ontario & Quebec [1], and in the eastern US [2], it is now also found in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick [1]. This species' conservation status is secure in its Canadian range [1], but it is endangered in Illinois and threatened in Tennessee [2].

I have posted about this plant before, but not in much detail.

Rubus odoratus broader view
Rubus odoratus has been introduced to Europe and is considered naturalized to several areas there now [3,4]. It success in areas outside of its native range is potentially attributable to some weedy characteristics, notably its seed set, which is large and composed of small, easily dispersed seed, and its rapid vegetative growth [5]. It was likely brought to areas outside of its range for its ornamental value [3]: it has large, attractive maple-like leaves and a long flowering period [3,6].

I cannot find much information about its pollination, but one usually reliable source indicates that this plant is of special value to pollinators (especially native bees), attracting large numbers of native bees, bumble bees, and honey bees, and that it provides shelter or nesting sites to some species of native bee [6].

Rubus odoratus visited by a Bombus sp. worker - note how full her pollen baskets are! She must have returned to the colony shortly after I took this shot to deliver her haul
I am in disagreement with several sources that state that the fruit of this plant is flavourless [5] or insipid [6]. I find the fruit tasty, if dry and a bit fuzzy on the tongue.

No comments:

Post a Comment