©The World Botanical Associates Web Page
Prepared by Richard W. Spjut
January 2005; August 2006

Rubus chamaemorus
Kenai Peninsula, AK
Spjut & Marin 15434, July 2003

Rubus discolor
South Fork of the Salmon River, August 2006

Rubus parviflorus

Oregon: coastal forest near Coos Bay
May 1977

Rubus spectabilis
Kenai Peninsula, AK
Spjut & Marin 15483, July 2003


  Rubus neomexicanus

Rubus procerus



Trees and Shrubs of Kern County (Dec 2012)

Key to Rubus

1. Leaves simple, maple-like, digitately (3-) 5 lobed, not prickly... Rubus parviflorus

1. Leaves pinnately divided with a terminal odd leaflet; stems prickly............................ 2


2. Fruit a blackberry, tightly adhering to receptacle, fruitlets mostly
distinct................................................................................................................ 3

2. Fruit a raspberry, easily removed from receptacle, fruitlets distinct
in upper half.......... ........... ................................................................................. 4


3.  Stems 5-angled.................... ..................................................... Rubus armeniacus

3.  Stems not angled......................................... ................................... Rubus ursinus


4.  Flowers/fruits on stalks that extend well beyond the leaves...... . Rubus leucodermis

4.  Flowers/fruits surpassed by leaves............................................ Rubus glaucifolius


Rubus armeniacus Focke 1874 Himalayan blackberry [Rubus discolor Weihe & Nees 1824, misapplied, synonym of R. ulmifolius Schott 1818 (elm-leaf blackberry), an occasional escape or naturalized species along the Coast region of California, widespread outside California; Rubus procerus P.J. Müller ex Boulay 1864, included under R. ulmifolius, distinguished in Munz & Keck from R. ulmifolius by the thorny canes, apparently misapplied]. Kern Co.: A rare escape on the sandy flats along Kern River between Lake Isabella and Kernville and around old canals and ditches in the Arvin-Greenfield region” (Twisselmann).

Rubus glaucifolius Kellogg 1873 (Rubus leucodermis var. glaucifolius (Kellogg) Jepson 1936]. San Diego raspberry. Low plant, stems not angled, somewhat glaucous; leaves pinnately divided into 3 leaflets, the terminal elliptical or wider near base; flowering Jun–Jul; fruit similar to a raspberry, red to purple. Montane forest openings; 2,500–6,500 ft, California to Oregon. Kern Co.: Scarce in the Jeffrey pine forest on the north end of Piute Mountain (near Saddle Springs,” and  “7.7 miles above Bodfish Gap” (Twisselmann), 1,890–2.072 m (CCH).

Rubus leucodermis Douglas 1840. Western raspberry. Stems to 2 m, 1st yr stems erect with leaves pinnately divided into 2–3 pairs of lateral leaflets and a terminal odd leaflet, the second year stems more straggly and covered with a bloom (glaucous), developing flowering branchlets with three parted leaves, or rarely leaves undivided; flowering May–Jun; fruit of tiny drupelets (drupetum), red to dark purple or black.  Montane forest from southern California to Oregon, and Santa Cruz Mts. north along the coast, to Montana, Wyoming, Utah,  Nevada and Arizona. Type from Oregon. Kern Co.:  Known from a dense colony on a shady most slope in Tejon Canyon at 2,750 ft, and rare in the Greenhorn Range along Alder Creek just above the public camp (Twisselmann), also Mt. Pinos, 2285 m (CCH).

Rubus parviflorus Nuttall 1818. Thimbleberry. Slender stemmed shrub to 2 m with simple, alternate, maple-like deciduous leaves, the leaves sharply 3–5 lobed; flowering Mar–Aug; fruit similar to a raspberry, red to deep scarlet. Widely distributed in moist habitats, California to Alaska across to the Great Lakers, south Mexico, from sea level to nearly 8,000 ft. Type from island of Michilimackinae, Lake Huron. Kern Co.: “Scarce , most often shaded places in the ponderosa pine forest in the Greenhorn Range” (Twisselmann), 1,768–1,951 m (CCH).

Rubus ursinus Chamisso & Schlechtendal 1827 [Rubus vitifolius Chamisso & Schlechtendal 1827 var. titanus (Rubus titanus L.H. Bailey 1925 ) L.H. Bailey 1941]. Wild blackberry. Open disturbed places below 5,000 ft from British Columbia to Idaho, south to Baja California.  Type from California. Kern Co.: Scarce in Douglas oak woodland in the Greenhorn Range south to Kern Canyon near Kernville. Includes horticultural forms that have been assigned to R. vitifolius var. titanus, which Twisselmann recognized “occasionally spontaneous in the valley, especially along old canals in the Weedpatch and Arvin regions,” 601–1,067 m (CCH).

Pharmacological references

Liu Z., J. Schwimer, D. Liu, F. L. Greenway, C. T. Anthony and E. A. Woltering. 2005.  Black raspberry extract and fractions contain angiogenesis inhibitors. J. Agric. Food Chem. 53(10): 3909–3915. “Targeted therapies, such as agents that inhibit angiogenesis, offer hope as complementary agents in cancer therapy. Angiogenesis-inhibiting agents have the potential for inhibiting tumor growth and limiting the dissemination of metastasis, thus keeping cancers in a static growth state for prolonged periods. Black raspberry (Rubus occidentalis) extract was discovered to be antiangiogenic (0.1% w/v) in a novel human tissue-based in vitro fibrin clot angiogenesis assay. Assay-guided fractionation of a crude black raspberry extract resulted in a highly potent antiangiogenic fraction that accounted for only 1% of the fresh weight of whole black raspberries. At 0.075% (w/v), the active fraction completely inhibited angiogenic initiation and angiogenic vessel growth. Further subfractionation of this active fraction revealed the coexistence of multiple antiangiogenic compounds, one of which has been identified as gallic acid. However, the individual subfractions did not outperform the active whole fraction. These findings suggest that an active black raspberry fraction may be a promising complementary cancer therapy. It is natural and potent enough for manageable dosing regimens. These extracts contain multiple active ingredients that may be additive or synergistic in their antiangiogenic effects. These observations warrant further investigations in animals and human trials.

Nam J. H., H. J. Jung, J. Choi, K. T. Lee and H. J. Park.  2006. The anti-gastropathic and anti-rheumatic effect of niga-ichigoside F1 and 23-hydroxytormentic acid isolated from the unripe fruits of Rubus coreanus in a rat model.  Biol. Pharm. Bull. 29(5): 967–970.  “This study was undertaken to produce the clinical merits of two natural antinociceptive anti-inflammatory triterpenoids which synthetic anti-inflammatory drugs do not have. The triterpenoid glycoside niga-ichigoside F1 (NIF1) and its aglycone 23-hydroxytormentic acid (23-HTA), which were isolated from the unripe fruits of Rubus coreanus (Rosaceae), reduced rheumatoid arthritis (RA) factor and C-reactive protein (CRP) factor in Freund's complete adjuvant reagent-induced rats, suggesting that these two triterpenoids had an anti-rheumatic effect. It was also shown that treatment with NIF1 or 23-HTA reduced gastric lesion extent, acidity and total gastric acid output induced by EtOH plus sodium salicylate in a gastric secretion test. Moreover, 23-HTA had a greater effect than the glycoside, NIF1. To clarify the anti-gastropathic mechanism of these two compounds, their free radical scavenging activities in the gastric mucosa were examined in a rat EtOH-sodium salicylate-induced gastropathy model. The two compounds significantly increased superoxide dismutase and glutathione peroxidase activities, indicating that the healing effects of NIF1 and 23-HTA against gastropathy are associated with free radical scavenging enzyme activities. These results support the notion that the long-term administration of NIF1 or 23-HTA should overcome the adverse effects of synthetic anti-inflammatory drugs.”

Nohynek L. J., H. L. Alakomi, M. P. Kahkonen, M. Heinonen, I. M. Helander, K. M. Oksman-Caldentey and R. H. Puupponen-Pimia. 2006. Berry phenolics: antimicrobial properties and mechanisms of action against severe human pathogens.  Nutr. Cancer. 54(1): 18–32. “Antimicrobial activity and mechanisms of phenolic extracts of 12 Nordic berries were studied against selected human pathogenic microbes. The most sensitive bacteria on berry phenolics were Helicobacter pylori and Bacillus cereus. Campylobacter jejuni and Candida albicans were inhibited only with phenolic extracts of cloudberry, raspberry, and strawberry, which all were rich in ellagitannins. Cloudberry extract gave strong microbicidic effects on the basis of plate count with all studied strains. However, fluorescence staining of liquid cultures of virulent Salmonella showed viable cells not detectable by plate count adhering to cloudberry extract, whereas Staphylococcus aureus cells adhered to berry extracts were dead on the basis of their fluorescence and plate count. Phenolic extracts of cloudberry and raspberry disintegrated the outer membrane of examined Salmonella strains as indicated by 1-N-phenylnaphthylamine (NPN) uptake increase and analysis of liberation of [14C]galactose- lipopolysaccharide. Gallic acid effectively permeabilized the tested Salmonella strains, and significant increase in the NPN uptake was recorded. The stability of berry phenolics and their antimicrobial activity in berries stored frozen for a year were examined using Escherichia coli and nonvirulent Salmonella enterica sv. Typhimurium. The amount of phenolic compounds decreased in all berries, but their antimicrobial activity was not influenced accordingly. Cloudberry, in particular, showed constantly strong antimicrobial activity during the storage.

Stoner G. D., T. Chen, L. A. Kresty, R. M. Aziz, T. Reinemann and R. Nines. 2006.  Protection against esophageal cancer in rodents with lyophilized berries: potential mechanisms.  Nutr. Cancer 54(1): 33–46.  “For several years, our laboratory has been evaluating the ability of lyophilized (freeze-dried) black raspberries (Rubus occidentalis, BRBs), blackberries (R. fructicosus, BBs), and strawberries (Fragaria ananasia, STRWs) to inhibit carcinogen-induced cancer in the rodent esophagus. To assure "standardized" berry preparations for study, each berry type is of the same cultivar, picked at about the same degree of ripeness, washed and frozen within 2-4 h of the time of picking, and freeze-dried under conditions that preserve the components in the berries. Some of the known chemopreventive agents in berries include vitamins A, C, and E and folic acid; calcium and selenium; beta-carotene, alpha-carotene, and lutein; polyphenols such as ellagic acid, ferulic acid, p-coumaric acid, quercetin, and several anthocyanins; and phytosterols such as beta-sitosterol, stigmasterol, and kaempferol. In initial bioassays, freeze-dried STRW, BRB, and BB powders were mixed into AIN-76A synthetic diet at concentrations of 5% and 10% and fed to Fischer 344 rats before, during, and after treatment with the esophageal carcinogen N-nitrosomethylbenzylamine (NMBA). At 25 wk of the bioassay, all three berry types were found to inhibit the number of esophageal tumors (papillomas) in NMBA-treated animals by 24-56% relative to NMBA controls. This inhibition correlated with reductions in the formation of the NMBA-induced O6-methylguanine adduct in esophageal DNA, suggesting that the berries influenced the metabolism of NMBA leading to reduced DNA damage. Studies are ongoing to determine the mechanisms by which berries influence NMBA metabolism and DNA adduct formation. BRBs and STRWs were also tested in a postinitiation scheme and were found to inhibit NMBA-induced esophageal tumorigenesis by 31-64% when administered in the diet following treatment of the animals with NMBA. Berries, therefore, inhibit tumor promotion and progression events as well as tumor initiation. In vivo mechanistic studies with BRBs indicate that they reduce the growth rate of premalignant esophageal cells, in part, through down-regulation of cyclooxygenase-2 leading to reduced prostaglandin production and of inducible nitric oxide synthase leading to reduced nitrate/nitrite levels in the esophagus. Based upon the preclinical data on rodents, we have initiated prevention trials in humans to determine if berries might exhibit chemopreventive effects in the esophagus.

Wang J. S., Z. Y. Qiu, Y. P. Xia, H. Z. Li, L. Y. Ren and L. Zhang.  2006. The protective effects of total glycosides Rubus parvifolius on cerebral ischemic in rat.  Zhongguo Zhong Yao Za Zhi 31(2): 138–141. In Chinense.  The protective effects of total glycosides Rubus parvifolius (TGRP) on local cerebral ischemic were studied.  The local cerebral ischemia in rat was made by middle cerebral artery occlusion (MACO). The infraction weight was determined by TTC stain. SOD, MDA, GSH and apoptotis were determined with different method respectively.  TGRP 20, 10 mg x kg(-1) ig markedly improved the abnormal nervous symptoms, increased the SOD, GSH activity and reduced contents of MDA in brain of MACO rat, TGRP 20 mg x kg(-1) in significantly decreased numbers of apoptotic cells in ischemic cortex.  TGRP has protective effects against cerebral infraction, and its mechanism may be related to anti-apoptotis and free radical.