It is a deciduous shrub growing to 0.5-2 m tall, with thorny shoots. While the crown is perennial, the canes are biennial, growing vegetatively one year, flowering and fruiting the second and then dying. Like with other dark raspberries, the tips of the 1st year canes (primocanes) often grow downward to the soil in the fall, and take root and form tip layers which become new plants. The leaves are pinnate, with five leaflets on leaves strong-growing stems in their first year, and three leaflets on leaves on flowering branchlets with white, seldom light purple flowers. The fruit is 1–1.2 cm diameter, red to reddish-purple at first, turning dark purple to nearly black when ripe. The fruit has high contents of anthocyanins and ellagic acid.
It is a variable species, as well as forming natural hybrids with other species in subgenus Idaeobatus. Three varieties are recognized:
Rubus leucodermis var. leucodermis
Rubus leucodermis var. bernardinus Jepson
Rubus leucodermis var. trinitatis Berger
An infusion of the root or the leaves has been used in the treatment of diarrhea and upset stomachs. A mild infusion of the roots has been used in the treatment of influenza. A poultice of the powdered stems has been used to treat cuts and wounds.
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.