Trailing Blackberry (Rubus ursinus)

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 The trailing blackberry is the only native blackberry species in BC. It has dark green, toothed leaves which form an alternating pattern along the stem, ending with a group of three leaflets. This differentiates the trailing blackberry from the invasive Himalayan blackberry, which has leaflets in groups of five. The stems are blue-green with curved thorns, and grow low to the ground. The flowers are white with five narrow petals, and the berries are dark red or black. Trailing blackberries are fast-growing, and often grow in disturbed habitat, such as roadsides or recently burned areas.

The fruits of the trailing blackberry are edible, and were often eaten by northwest coast First Nations groups. They were also used in dyes for their deep purple colour, and the leaves could also be made into a tea that was used to treat many different illnesses. The leaves are also used in some commercial teas. 

Trailing blackberries have many important functions within ecosystems. The berries are an important food source for songbirds, small mammals, and bears. The vines often form dense patches, which can provide shelter for small animals. They also attract native pollinator species, and provide ground cover that can stabilize the soil and prevent erosion. 

For more information, visit E-Flora BC.

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