Rubus polyanthemus – Series Rhamnifolii

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A common and widespread bramble over much of the UK, especially in lowland and coastal areas. It has a preference for dry, sunny situations and is hardly ever found inside woodland. It can be recognised by its elongated heads of pink flowers and distinctive greyish-green corrugated leaves, especially those in the panicle.

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It is a medium arching species forming bushes up to about 1.5m tall, but on dry or grazed heathlands it may be much smaller. The panicles are often narrowly cylindrical in shape.

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Flowers are about 2cm diameter and usually tightly clustered at the apex of panicle. The rachis and floral branches are downy with only scattered prickles, though these may be more numerous below. A few short-stalked glands can be present. Petals are pink or pale pink, broadly elliptical to almost round, up to about 12mm long. Stamens are longer than the styles, which can be pale green or with pinkish bases. Sepals are reflexed after flowering.

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Leaves normally have slightly overlapping leaflets which are a characteristic matt greyish or yellowish green above and almost glabrous. The terminal leaflet is variable in size but averages about 7 x 5cm, either broadly ellpitical to nearly round, or somewhat obovate in shape. It is shallowly and evenly serrate with a shortish cuspidate tip. Leaflets exposed to the sun take on a more pleated or corrugated appearance, though this is perhaps more characteristic of the panicle leaves and a useful identification character.

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The terminal leaflet is often lobed or fully divided so as to produce 7-leaflet leaves.

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Leaflets are quite strongly felted as is typical for the series, so appear silvery-grey or somewhat yellowish-grey below.

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Stems are often thinly pubescent and usually retain some sparse, short hairs even when exposed to the sun. They are sharply angled and usually flat-sided or slightly furrowed. The olive green/golden brown colour is typical of most stems, but they will turn reddish in full sun. The red-based prickles with yellow points often contrast with the stem. They are relatively long and slender, patent to declining and fairly numerous.

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