Rubus nessensis – Section Rubus

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A widespread British and European bramble and the first to be described here in 1794. It is one of the more raspberry-like species sending up tall suckering canes, though the leaves are green both sides. It can be recognised by its white petals, largely unarmed stems with a few tiny black prickles, large leaves and red fruit. Stems are typically 2 metres tall or longer. It occurs in damp, semi-natural acidic woodlands and heathland margins both in the uplands and lowlands.

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Flowers are about 2.5cm in diameter with elliptical petals up to 15 x 10 mm but often smaller. The stamens are longer than the styles and spread outwards strongly after flowering.

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Ripe berries are characteristically dark red in this species and are small, formed of relatively few drupelets. The sepals are white-bordered with a medium-long finely-pointed tip. They are silvery-hairy inside and mainly point outwards when the plant is in flower or curl upwards slightly as the fruit forms. Like several related species it is an early flowerer and fruiter. This photo was taken on 20th July in southern England.

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The terminal leaflet is typically 10cm long but often longer, thin, evenly and rather finely serrate and with a cordate (heart-shaped) base. Leaflets are virtually glabrous above and sparsely pubescent below, and only slightly paler green below. Sometimes seven leaflets are present.

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The stem is typically smooth and shining, only slightly angled and with very few prickles above, sometimes a few more below. It can turn golden brown if exposed to the sun. The prickles are short and slender, patent to declining, mainly on the angles, typically a dark purplish-brown in colour.

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Sessile glands are visible as tiny blackish dots on this stem.

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