Rubus prolongatus – Series Rhamnifolii

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This bramble is particularly common in Mid and South Wales and south-west England, but also occurs in Ireland and is locally frequent as far east as the New Forest in Hampshire, with outliers in Sussex and Kent. It occurs in most types of bramble habitats, particulary in hedgerows and on heaths. Its most distinctive characters are the pale pink flowers with long stamens, the thickly pubescent rachis and flowering branches of the inflorescence, the sharply serrate leaflets which are almost white-felted below and the densely hairy stems. The foliage is generally a greyish-green colour.

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Flowers are relatively large, up to about 3cm across. The petals are a delicate shade of pink, but can fade to a creamy white colour and are often shallowly notched (or a bit ragged at the tip). Styles are pale green. Sepals are long-pointed and become reflexed after flowering. Short-stalked glands are occasionally found in the panicle and are rare on the stems. A fairly distinctive feature is the presence of short, often stubby prickles on the rachis.

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This is one bramble where the leaves of the panicle (flowering stem) appear quite different from those of the first year stem. The upper panicle leaves consist of a single ovate-shaped leaflet (visible in some of the photos above); the ones lower down are 3-foliate, with a broadly elliptic terminal leaflet (below).

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The terminal leaflets of the stem leaves can also differ in appearance, from narrowly to broadly elliptical, or broadly obovate in the oldest leaves. The toothing is usually fairly coarse and irregular. The leaflet apex varies from cuspidate (abruptly short-pointed) to acuminate (gradually narrowing to a long point).

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All of the panicle leaflets are greyish-white felted below (one of the main characteristics of the Rhamnifolii).

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The densely pubescent stems also help distinguish this species from members of the Discolores, some of which have greyish-white rather than pure white felted leaves. The prickles are about the same length as the width of the stem, but some shorter, stubbier ones are usually present.

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