Trailing Blackberry – Rosales Rosaceae Rubus ursinus


Identification & Description:
Trailing Blackberry is a low growing, trailing Blackberry that can grow to lengths of 15 feet. The vines are heavily armed with thorns, making it very difficult to handle. The leaves are composed of three leaflets, which is a quick way to verify you do not have evergreen or Himalayan Blackberry which have 5 leaflets. The white flowers give way to very tasty blackberries that are a favorite of birds and humans. Trailing Blackberry thrives in disturbed sites and is very common in dry, open forests.

1. Very prickly trailing vines grow to 18 feet.
2. White petals about 1/2 inch long surround many long stamens or pistils (unisexual flowers). April through July blooming times.
3. Double toothed margins identify leaflet triads.
4. Sweet, juicy dark berries about 1 inch long.

1. Most flavorful of the blackberries. This is the only native blackberry in the northwest. Edible raw or cooked in pies or jams.
2. Trailing nature privides good erosion control. Undesirable for gardens.
3. Hybridized as Loganberry, Youngberry and Boysenberry.

Wildlife uses:
Trailing Blackberry creates excellent wildlife habitat. Many species of birds eat the berries, as do many types of small mammals and bears. The dense thickets provide critical hiding and escape cover for many birds and mammals. Deer also browse the leaves.

Reclamation uses:
Although most often considered undesirable, Trailing Blackberry is very valuable as a plant species for habitat reclamation. It thrives in dry or moist, disturbed conditions so it is a natural at preventing erosion and great at bank stabilization. It grows well on disturbed sites and grows in sun to moderate shade. It provides important wildlife habitat and is an excellent food source for many types of animals.

Backyard uses:
Considered a weedy invader, Trailing Blackberry is a native blackberry that is far less invasive than its introduced cousins. Trailing Blackberry may be used to attract birds to your yard. It could also be planted and ‘trained’ up trellises or fences to produce berries for your enjoyment. Plant it in a spot that is mostly sunny and the plants should thrive. Fresh Trailing Blackberry’s on a bowl of ice cream would be worth the thorny picking.