Purple-Flowering Raspberry

I planted Purple-Flowering Raspberry (Rubus odoratus) last spring. It didn’t do much last year, but this year I’m quite pleased with it so far.

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This is a plant native to the Northeastern and Midwestern states, and parts of the southern Appalachian region. I planted it for the large Maple-like leaves, the flowers, and the fruit. The fruit is supposed to be pretty tasteless but very appealing to songbirds.

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The flowers are attractive to native bees. They are supposed to be fragrant but I haven’t noticed any scent – perhaps when the plants are more mature.

Purple-Flowered Raspberry will spread to form large thickets, so it may require some strategic spade deployment.In my garden it’s about 3′ high but grows to twice that under the right conditions.

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I don’t generally get very excited about foliage but these leaves have a bit of drama to them. They also have an interesting rough-textured look to them. I like the flowers, also.

At some point in the future I may have to exert myself to keep this plant under control, but that’s probably true of half the plants in our garden. For now I’m happy to have another bird- and bee-friendly plant in our midst.

36 Comments on “Purple-Flowering Raspberry

  1. This is an interesting plant. I have never heard of it. I love those blooms. The leaves are pretty. I can’t imagine a 6′ tall plant with those blooms looking down at you.

    • If this plant grows to 6′ in my garden I will have to cut it back to control the height. Conditions here are not ideal for it, though. For one thing, it likes acidic soil and ours is very alkaline.

  2. Very cool, I didn’t know it was a native since I always assumed it was too fancy when compared to the regular raspberries! I’ve seen it while hiking and it is a surprise to look upslope into a bright purple boom… but on the flipside my brother isn’t too thrilled with how it spreads through his yard with ease.

  3. We have one of these with red flowers that must be a gift from the birds cuz I had nothing to do with it. Love the purple of yours.

  4. I do love these but unfortunately, don’t have room! The flowers are such a striking colour and you’re right, the foliage is very attractive as well.

  5. These grow wild where I live in upstate New York, including on a walking trail I sometimes exercise walk on. Not sure I’ve ever seen the berries, but I do like seeing the small flowers up against the maple foliage.

  6. The foliage does look very attractive, as well as the flower, but I think it can be inclined to take over a garden? My neighbour has something that looks very similar to this, and it is becoming a mighty big vine to keep in check..

  7. It is a beautiful plant. We have friends on Lake Superior where you can see it growing wild along the road. I should try to get some cuttings when we are up there in a few weeks.

  8. I hadn’t heard of this plant, until now. What great value, lovely leaves, pretty flowers and fruit as well as being beneficial to wildlife. I love it! Just have to get used to seeing those purple flowers….most odd.xxx

  9. Lovely plant with impressive foliage, as well as attractive blooms. And food for the birds? Sounds like a great plant!

  10. Raspberries are by far my favorite berries, so I can’t see myself devoting space to a raspberry that doesn’t produce tasty fruit. I’m sure the birds will be happy not to have to fight the humans for the berries. 🙂

    • I grow a bunch of fruits that are of marginal interest to people but keen interest to birds – Viburnum, Elderberry, Wild Currant, and now the Purple-Flowered Raspberry.

  11. Hello Jason, the plant looks like a young maple tree. I would never have guessed it was a raspberry. I hope it attracts the songbirds and they benefit from the berries while you benefit from their chorus.

  12. I’ve been growing Rubus odoratus in a shaded part of my back yard for three years and never got any berries. This spring I planted another R. odoratus and, lo and behold, I had berries. (Turns out that this plant is self-incompatible.) Yes, I’ve read that the berries are insipid, but either I’m lucky or the people who write this stuff haven’t actually tasted the berries, because they are every bit as good or better than commercial raspberries. And the huge plus is that this plant flowers and sets fruit in complete shade. Great, if a bit aggressive, plant.

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