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Black Butte blackberry

Brambles are thorny plants of the genus Rubus, in the rose family (Rosaceae). Bramble fruit is the fruit of any such plant, including the blackberry and raspberry. The word comes from Germanic *bram-bezi, whence also German Brombeere and French framboise. In popular UKmarker usage the term primarily refers to the blackberry bush; in Scotlandmarker and the north of Englandmarker it refers to both the blackberry bush and its fruits.

Bramble bushes have a distinctive growth form. They send up long, arching canes that do not flower or set fruit until the second year of growth. Many types of brambles bear edible fruit, and many have recurved thorns that dig into clothing and flesh when the victim tries to pull away from them. Some types also have hair-like thorns. Brambles usually have trifoliate or palmately-compound leaves.

Bramble fruits are aggregate fruits. Each small unit is called a drupelet. In some, such as blackberry, the flower receptacle is elongate and part of the ripe fruit, making the blackberry an aggregate-accessory fruit.


Many species are grown and bred for their fruit. Ornamental species can be grown for flowers (e.g. Rubus trilobus), for their ornamental stems (e.g. Rubus cockburnianus), and some as ground cover (e.g. Rubus tricolor). The thorny varieties are sometimes grown for game cover, and occasionally for protection.

Most species are important for their conservation and wildlife value in their native range. The flowers attract nectar-feeding butterflies and hoverflies, and are a particular favorite of Volucella pellucens.

Brambles are important food plants for the larvae of several species of Lepidoptera—see list of Lepidoptera that feed on Rubus.

Bramble leaves are used as a main food source for captive stick insects.

Birds such as blackbirds, and some mammals, will feed on the nutritious fruits in autumn.

Split bramble stems are traditionally used as binding material for straw in production of lip work basketry, such as lipwork chairs and bee skeps.


There are many different systems developed for the commercial culture of blackberries and raspberries. Bramble cultivars are separated into several categories based on their growth habit. They are either considered erect, semi-erect, or trailing.

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