Thimbleberry
Rubus parviflorus
Nutt.
Family: Rosaceae, Rose
Genus: Rubus

Description
General: upright non-spiny shrub 50-200 cm tall, very short-
hairy and with stalked glands, eventually almost hairless
and with gray, flaking bark.
Leaves: alternate, with membranous, lanceolate stipules
and stalks with stalked glands. The blades with heart-
shaped bases, palmately 3-7-lobed, mostly 6-15 cm long
and somewhat broader, doubly sharp-toothed, hairless to
somewhat hairy.
Flowers: mostly 3-7 in terminal flat-topped clusters.
Petals usually 5 (6-7), white, obovate, 15-25 mm long.
Calyx short- to long-hairy, often with stalked glands, the 5
(6-7) lobes spreading, oblong-ovate, 10-18 mm long, tipped
with a slender appendage about half the total length.
Stamens numerous. Pistils numerous, ovary short-hairy
above but the style hairless, 1-1.5 mm long.
Flowering time: May-July.
Fruits: red, fleshy drupelets, coherent as a thimble-like
aggregate fruit, hairy, 15-20 mm wide.

Distribution
Open to wooded, moist to dry places from the plains to
subalpine mountain slopes, in w., c. and se. parts of MT.
Also from AK to CA, WY, CO, NM, and the Dakotas.

Edible and Medicinal plant: see below.
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Contents
Identification
English Names Index
Scientific Names Index
Family Index
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Edible Uses:
The fruits - thimbleberries - are delicious, raw or cooked. They make excellent jams and preserves. The fruits can also be dried for later use, they are very seedy, and rich in vitamin C. Young shoots can be peeled and eaten cooked or raw. The shoots are harvested as they emerge in the spring, and whilst they are still young and tender. They can be cooked like asparagus and are rich in vitamin C too. The flowers are edible raw.

Medicinal Uses:
The leaves are a blood tonic, and have agents that prevent or alleviate nausea and vomiting, that cause tissue to contract, and give strength and tone to the stomach. A tea is used internally in the treatment of stomach complaints, diarrhea and dysentery, anaemia, the spitting up of blood and to treat vomiting. A tea has been taken by women when their periods are unusually long. A poultice of the dried powdered leaves has been used to treat wounds and burns. The leaves have been crushed and rubbed over the skin to treat pimples and blackheads. A poultice of the leaf ashes, mixed with oil, has been used to treat swellings. The young shoots have agents that gradually restore health and are effective against scurvy. The roots are an appetizer, tonic, and have agents that cause tissue to contract, and that give strength and tone to the stomach. A tea has been used by thin people to help them gain weight. A tea has also been used in the treatment of stomach disorders, diarrhea and dysentery. A decoction of the roots has been taken in the treatment of pimples and blackheads.

Other Uses:
The leaves have been used to line baskets etc for carrying soft fruit or other delicate items. A soap can be obtained from the boiled bark, and a purple to dull blue dye obtained from the fruit.


Subspecies:

ssp. idaeus L.:
Plants non-glandular; mainly Eurasian, occasionally escaped from cultivation in N. America.

ssp. strigosus (Michx.) Focke:
Plants glandular, common throughout the range.


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