Virginia Tech Weed Identification Guide

Brambles: Rubus spp.

Weed Description:  Erect, prostrate, or climbing perennials with prickly stems and red or black berries.   Members of the brambles include the raspberries, blackberries, dewberries, etc.   Brambles are primarily weeds of fence rows, roadsides, landscapes, and occasionally pastures and hay fields.  Several different species occur in Virginia and throughout the southeastern United States.

Stems: Erect to eventually arching and climbing on other vegetation or also running prostrate along the ground.  All species have prickles along the stem, some are more densely covered with prickles than others.

Roots: Rhizomes, root sprouts, a fibrous root system, and some stems are capable of forming roots where they come into contact with the ground.

Leaves:   Leaves are arranged alternately along the stem, occur on petioles, and are divided into 3 to 7 leaflets.  Each leaflet has toothed margins.

Flowers:  Usually consist of 5 green, hairy sepals and 5 white or pinkish petals.

Fruit:  Many drupelets that compose a berry which we commonly refer to as the fruit.  Berries are usually either red or dark purple to black in color when mature and very juicy.

Identifying Characteristics:  The leaves that are divided into 3 to 7 leaflets, distinctive berries, and rhizomes are all characteristics that help to identify members of the Rubus genus.  Many different brambles are common in Virginia, perhaps the most common are the blackberries, raspberries, and the dewberries.