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. 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.

  2. 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..

  3. 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

  4. 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. 🙂

  5. 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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