Rubus ulmifolius Schott

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Article from Bean's Trees and Shrubs Hardy in the British Isles

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'Rubus ulmifolius' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online ( Accessed 2024-03-04.



  • R. rusticanus Mercier


Flower-bearing part of a plant; arrangement of flowers on the floral axis.
Reproduction without fertilisation usually by the asexual production of seeds (agamospermy) (as in e.g. Citrus Sorbus). Includes vegetative reproduction (stolons rhizomes suckers etc.) (as in e.g. Ulmus).
Lying flat against an object.
A much-branched inflorescence. paniculate Having the form of a panicle.
Folded backwards.


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Article from Bean's Trees and Shrubs Hardy in the British Isles

Recommended citation
'Rubus ulmifolius' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online ( Accessed 2024-03-04.

A vigorous shrub whose arching stems are clothed with tufted down and armed with long, broad-based prickles (these mainly confined to the angles of the stems). Leaves composed of three or five leaflets radially arranged, which are slightly downy above, white-felted beneath, rather finely toothed. Inflorescence a long, usually rather narrow panicle, with spreading, armed branches, they and the long pedicels densely coated with appressed hairs. Flowers usually pink, sometimes bright rosy red or white, with roundish petals. Sepals reflexed, densely hairy on the outside. Fruits aromatic but with rather small, dryish drupelets.

A native mainly of W. Europe (including Britain) and the Mediterranean region. Unlike most blackberries it is diploid and reproduces itself sexually (i.e., not by apomixis). Although not in itself of any ornamental value and only second rate as a fruiting bramble, it has given rise to two garden varieties and is the parent, through its unarmed form, of two of the best fruiting sorts.


This is the very handsome well known double flowered pink bramble, which in some gardens makes a gay display in July and August. Each flower produces an extraordinary number of narrow petals – whence bellidiflorus, from the resemblance of the flowers to those of a double daisy (R. bellidiflorus Kirchn.; R. ulmifolius f. bellidiflorus (Kirchn.) Voss). Being just as vigorous and prickly as the wild type it is only suitable for the wild garden, where it could be grown with the white double bramble – see below.

f. inermis (Wild.) Rehd.

R. inermis Willd.
?R. fruticosus inermis West

A remarkable form absolutely devoid of spines or prickles. One may thrust one’s hand into the middle of the bush without getting a scratch.The origin of this form is unknown. It was described by Willdenow in 1809, but it may be the same as the thornless bramble of Miller’s Dictionary (1768), named by Weston two years later. It was received at Kew in 1877 from the firm of R. Smith and Co. of Worcester.Early in the 1920s this bramble was crossed at the John Innes Horticultural Institution with R. hastiformis W. C. R. Watson (R. thyrsiger Bab., not Banning) a rare British endemic noted for its excellent fruits. The latter is tetraploid and of the four seedlings raised three were triploid and sterile, as might be expected from the parentage, R. ulmifolius being diploid. The fourth, however, proved to be a fertile tetraploid and was put into commerce as Blackberry ‘John Innes’ (Crane and Lawrence, Genetics of Garden Plants (1952), p. 249). This carried within it the genes for thornlessness, and from it was bred ‘Merton Thornless’, one of the best fruiting varieties.

R 'Double White'

A strong-growing bramble with arching, angled soon glabrous canes, which are armed with short prickles. Flowering branches and inflorescence-axis densely set with strongly recurved prickles and hairy throughout. Leaflets’ mostly three, but often five on the canes and mostly reduced to a simple, lobed leaf under the inflorescence, deeply double-toothed, glabrous above at flowering-time, finely felted beneath, terminal leaflet ovate, short-acuminate at the apex, truncate to rounded at the base, up to 2{1/2} in. or slightly more long and two-thirds as wide, the lateral slightly shorter and often cuneate at the base; stalks of the lateral leaflets about {3/8} in. long on the canes, very short on the flowering branches; leaf-rachis prickly. Flowers white, double but with a central boss of stamens, borne in late July or August in erect panicles, the lowermost two or three branches subtended by leaves, the leafless upper portion dense, blunt-ended, the whole 7 or 8 in. long; pedicels densely armed with straight prickles. Calyx white-felted; sepals reflexed at flowering time (R. thyrsoideus flore pleno Hort., not R. thyrsoideus Wimm.; ?R. linkianus Ser.).This handsome bramble, suitable only for the wild garden, is of uncertain origin; it is doubtfully the same as the double-flowered “R. fruticosus” of 18th- and early 19th-century writers, but was in cultivation in Britain by 1882. It is perhaps nearest to R. candicans Weihe ex Reichenb. (R. thyrsoideus Wimm.) but differs in the more prickly and less leafy inflorescence. It appears to be the same as the bramble that appears in some recent works as R. linkianus Ser., the name given by Seringe in 1825 to a double-flowered bramble cultivated in the Berlin Botanic Garden, which Link had shortly described in 1822 under the illegitimate name R. paniculatus. Whether ‘Double White’ is clonally the same as the Berlin plant it is impossible to say. Certainly R. linkianus, as understood by Focke, is near to R. candicans, which would have to be regarded as the normal wild form of R. linkianus if indeed the two are conspecific, the latter name having several years priority.


A handsome variegated form, the main part of the leaf being green, the midrib and veins picked out in bright yellow. It needs a more sunny place than the others.R. ulmifolius belongs to the subsection Discolores, the type-species of which is R. discolor Weihe & Nees (R. procerus P. J. Mueller; R. armeniacus Focke). This is not a British native, but is of interest as the species to which belongs the well known commercial variety ‘Himalaya Giant’, which came originally from Armenia or the Caucasus. It was misleadingly named “Himalaya Berry” in the United States, whence it reached Britain early this century. In Germany it is known as ‘Theodor Reimers’ (Hegi, Fl. Mitteleuropa, Vol. IV 2a (1961–6), p. 323).The double-flowered form of R. ulmifolius has been mentioned above. Another double-flowered bramble of the subsection Discolores, of uncertain taxonomic position, is: