Rubus caesius

 

Botanical Name : Rubus caesius
Family: Rosaceae
Genus: Rubus
Subgenus: Rubus (formerly Eubatus)
Order: Rosales

Common Name: Dewberry, European dewberry

Habitat :Rubus caesius  is native to Europe, including Britain, from Scandanavia south and east to Spain, Siberia and W. Asia. It grows on  hedgerows, amongst shrubs and in rough dry meadowland, usually on basic soils.

Description:

Rubus caesius is a deciduous Shrub growing to 0.2 m (0ft 8in) by 1 m (3ft 3in).  It is a small trailing (rather than upright or high-arching) brambles with berries reminiscent of the raspberry, but are usually purple to black instead of red.Sometimesit is considered  as a nuisance weed.
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Around March and April, the plants start to grow white flowers that develop into small green berries. The tiny green berries grow red and then a deep purple-blue as they ripen. When the berries are ripe, they are tender and difficult to pick in any quantity without squashing them. The plants do not have upright canes like some other Rubus species, but have stems that trail along the ground, putting forth new roots along the length of the stem. The stems are covered with fine spines or stickers. The berries are sweet and, for many, are worth the scratches and stains that come from picking them.

In the winter the leaves often remain on the stems, but may turn dark red. The leaves are sometimes eaten by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including peach blossom moths.

The European dewberry, Rubus caesius, grows more upright like other brambles, but is frequently restricted to coastal communities, especially sand dune systems. Its fruits are a deep, almost black, purple and are coated with a thin layer or ‘dew’ of waxy droplets. Thus, they appear sky-blue (caesius is Latin for pale blue). It is less sought after, because its fruits are small and retain a markedly tart taste even when fully ripe.

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Cultivation :
Easily grown in a good well-drained loamy soil in sun or semi-shade. Succeeds on chalky soils. This species is a blackberry with biennial stems, it produces a number of new stems each year from the perennial rootstock, these stems fruit in their second year and then die. Plants in this genus are notably susceptible to honey fungus.

Propagation:
Seed – requires stratification and is best sown in early autumn in a cold frame. Stored seed requires one month stratification at about 3°c and is best sown as early as possible in the year. Prick out the seedlings when they are large enough to handle and grow on in a cold frame. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring of the following year. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame. Tip layering in July. Plant out in autumn. Division in early spring or just before leaf-fall in the autumn.

Edible Uses:The leaves can be used for a tea, and the berries are sweet and edible.
Fruit –  is   eaten raw or cooked. Succulent but not very tasty. A delicious flavour, it is considered to be superior to blackcurrants though the fruit is rather small and consists of just a few drupes. The fruit can be used for making jellies, preserves etc.

Medicinal Uses:
The fruit is commonly used for a treatment for diarrhea and dysentery. Combination of the roots is treatment for coughs and also fevers.

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dewberry
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_DE.htm

http://toptropicals.com/pics/garden/m1/Podarki7/Rubus_caesius67MikMak.jpg

http://www.celtnet.org.uk/recipes/ancient/wild-food-entry.php?term=Dewberry

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