It’s a rose! It’s a maple! No, it’s a Purple Flowering Raspberry!
I found this bush all over the place on a recent hike. The flowers looked kind of like wild roses, but the leaves were all wrong. The leaves looked like maple leaves, but I thought it roughly resembled a raspberry.
After a little quality time with Google, I found that it is a raspberry, a:
Purple Flowering Raspberry (Rubus odoratus), and our species of the week!
**Side note: as I was looking for good sources of information, I just landed on “Evergreen” and their list of native species. This is a good organization. I encourage you to visit them. They focus on school ground greening (among other things). http://www.evergreen.ca/**
Now, back to our regularly scheduled program.
The Purple Flowering Raspberry is native to Ontario, and the fruits are edible. As such, it is an excellent species for wildlife. It attracts bees, birds and butterflies (and the occasional human). It spreads underground, like all raspberries.
Flowers are large, with five purple (pinkish?) petals. The leaves are large, palmate, and resemble maple leaves (hence my confusion). In all of the pictures I’m finding of the fruits, they appear flatter than your typical varieties of garden raspberries. Some say they aren’t quite as tasty, but I couldn’t tell you, as the ones I found weren’t fruiting yet (darn it all). There’s a picture here.
All parts of this plant were used traditionally in all sorts of medicines (for example: as a diuretic, for treating toothaches and to make a wash for sores).
The hollow canes of raspberries provide an important habitat for overwintering bees. To help them out, you can bundle canes and leave them in the yard over the winter. Since we’re seeing a frightening decline in bees these days, why not give them a hand when you can?
As for me, I’m going back one of these days for a snack.
Posted on July 14, 2014, in Species of the week, Uncategorized and tagged berries, foraging, hiking, identification, native raspberry, nature, pink flower, purple flowering raspberry, Rubus odoratus, species of the week, wild berries, wild raspberry, woods. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.