Unknown Rubus?

Discussion in 'Plants: Identification' started by sgbotsford, Oct 6, 2016.

  1. sgbotsford

    sgbotsford Active Member 10 Years

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    Ok, guys, what is this? Discovered a 20 x 4 foot patch growing in a spot otherwise only inhabited by wild raspberry. The forest is mostly spruce, about 70% coverage. It LOOKS like a giant thornless raspberry plant but raspberries usually hve 3 leaflets, not 5. It also is extensive enough that I think it's older than one season.
    It's about twice the height of the local raspberries, with much heavier canes. It shows no sign of preparing for winter.



    Photos taken about 1 October, location is 70 km SW of Edmonton, eco zone Aspen Parkland, hardiness zone 3b Unknown_Plant_1.jpg Unknown_Plant_2.jpg Unknown_Plant_3.jpg Unknown_Plant_5.jpg
     
  2. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Paragon of Plants UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Thornless blackberry spread by birds?
     
  3. sgbotsford

    sgbotsford Active Member 10 Years

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    Thought of that. Two issues with it.

    We're zone 3. AFAIK few blackberries are hardy at temps this low.

    Thornless I don't think breeds true. I'm flagging them for transplant in spring. Grow in a pot and see what happens. The size of the patch makes me think that it's been there for at last 3 years -- or I have an invasion on my hands.
     
  4. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Paragon of Plants UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    I have relatives growing some in zone 2. Can't comment re: breeding true from seed--I'd have my doubts as well about that (that is to say, I agree with you).
     
  5. Sundrop

    Sundrop Well-Known Member

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    Do you mean that thornless will always change to thorny when grown from seed? Otherwise I don't see any problem with Daniel's opinion that it could be a thornless blackberry spread by birds. It may, or may not, be true to the parent plant.
    Or maybe someone walking there threw some uneaten fruit there?

    What looks strange to me is that there are no previous year canes visible there. Is it possible that the plant became so established and big in just one season?
     
  6. sgbotsford

    sgbotsford Active Member 10 Years

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    Please ask them for me what cultivar. if you prefer not to clutter the discussion, send email to sgb@sherw00ds-forests.com
     
  7. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Paragon of Plants UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    I'd guess from this, either 'Chester' or 'Doyle': Gardening: growing blackberries without the blood

    The article mentions of 'Doyle': "the latter not cold-hardy in the coldest regions, but making canes long enough to be laid on the ground and insulated under a blanket of leaves from January to March" -- I suspect, though, that that is what my relatives are doing, but instead with 'Chester'.

    (I doubt I would get cultivar information out of them...)
     
  8. sgbotsford

    sgbotsford Active Member 10 Years

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    It's on private land. We have not had blackberry fruit on the property AFAIK, and it's remote enough from the house that discarded fruit is unlikely.

    Birds are a possibility.

    A friend in Vancouver claims that thornless revert spontaneously to thornfull. This may be due to local seeds rooting. She attributed to grafts, but AFAIK since a cane is ephermeral it wouldn't help.

    I went back and checked. A quick look shows no second year canes, nor dead thornless canes at all. However, closer examination of the canes showed they are not as thornfree as I thought. If the images don't get scrampled in order:
    1. Object for scale is a pen, just under 1 cm, showing barrel and clip. Lower stem, a few inches form ground, showing 'thorns' Not a lot bigger than the prickles on nettles.
    2. Lower node showing leaf and bud. Note that brown lower bark is mottled brown at this level (about 16" above ground level)
    3. Top view of leaflets and junction to leaf stem.
    4. Cross section of main cain
    5. Out of focus cross section of leaf.
     

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  9. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    The leaves are pinnate (leaflets in pairs on a long leaf stalk), not palmate (leaflets all radiating from a single point), so it's a raspberry, not a blackberry. Strong first-year raspberry stems like these typically have five leaflets per leaf, so that's normal. I'd suspect it is a vigorous fruit orchard raspberry cultivar that has escaped from a garden, as opposed to a wild one.
     
  10. wcutler

    wcutler Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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    We seem to have at least some blackberries that have pinnate compound leaves. The stems do look more like what is shown on this page comparing blackberries and black raspberries, with similar-looking leaves and leaf arrangement.
    Blackberry? or black raspberry? | Identify that Plant
    I don't think the leaves in this posting look quite like the black raspberry ones on the page, but the comparison might be useful. I always wondered whether blackberries and black raspberries were the same thing.
     
  11. Sundrop

    Sundrop Well-Known Member

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    They are not. According to Wiki, Blackberries are species of genus Rubus subgenus Rubus (formerly Eubatus), Black Raspberries are species of genus Rubus subgenus Idaeobatus.

    @sgbotsford Those very light-green, almost white stems remind me of Black Raspberries (Rubus occidentalis). Could it be something close?
    @Michael F Do first-year Black Raspberry canes have five leaflets per leaf as well?
     
  12. sgbotsford

    sgbotsford Active Member 10 Years

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    Somewhat scary if these are first year plants.

    There are some 20 plants each with 3 to 6 canes, spread over an irregular oval about 10 x 25 feet. If they came in by bird, then that bird must have been stuffed with berries, and he had the Kansas Quick Step in my woods.

    That said, it would explain why I didn't notice them last year.

    Hmm. Wonder if there is ONE 2 yr old plant., and that these are it's offspring. Still scary that they can take over this much forest so fast.

    Last year we had a fairly dry, but mild winter. Probably a zone 4b or even zone 5 winter. So a seed of a tender variety may have gone to town. See if they are still there this coming spring.

    Also, there is no sign of winter prep. This may be a critter used to a much longer growing season. What mechanism does rubus use to get ready for winter? Day length? Temperature?
     
  13. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Don't have Rubus occidentalis in Britain, so I'm not personally familiar with that particular species of raspberry, but going by Wendy's link, yes.
     

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