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A deciduous shrub of sturdy habit, reaching 6 to 10 ft in height, bark peeling; branches often arching or pendulous, quite unarmed, downy when young. Leaves like those of a blackcurrant in shape and size, being three- or five-lobed, with jagged edges, the base truncate or heart-shaped, 11⁄2 to 3 in. long, rather more wide, downy on both sides when young, especially beneath; stalk 1 to 11⁄2 in. long. Flowers mostly solitary, pure white, 2 in. across, borne in May on short twigs from the previous year’s branches; sepals downy, ovate, 1⁄2 in. long. Fruits 1⁄2 in. across, dry, and of no flavour. Bot. Mag., t. 6062.
Native of the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona; discovered in 1820 by Dr James. The fruit is not delicious but no doubt the name refers to the delight the flowers gave to the eye, for in this respect it is the most lovely of all Rubi, the blossoms being as beautiful as single roses, and as profusely borne. It was introduced in 1870. It is not very easily increased by cuttings (especially the better of two forms in cultivation), but can be layered, although the layers will sometimes take a twelvemonth before they become sufficiently rooted to be removable. A good loamy soil, a sunny position, and an occasional pruning out of the old wood complete its requirements. It is one of the elite of hardy shrubs.
R. mexicanus O. Kuntze