Thimble Berry
  • Thimble Berry
  • Thimble Berry
  • Thimble Berry
  • Thimble Berry
  • Thimble Berry

Thimble Berry

(Rubus parviflorus)

Type: Deciduous shrub/bush
Maximum height: 6'
Flower color: White
Habitat: partial shade to full shade
Edible: yes
Toxic: No or unknown
Size: 1/2 gallon pot

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Thimble berry is a deciduous plant with leaves that are soft and fuzzy. This is the only species in the Rubus genus (including blackberries, salmonberries, and raspberries) that doesn't have thorns. The tasty berries are hemispherical, soft, and easily crushed. Many of the canes die over the winter, but in a patch they provide a scaffolding for the next year's canes that allows them to grow upright to 6' in height. Without this, they tend to fall over once they reach about 4' in height.  The flowers have a sweet smell that is only detectable up close or in large patches.

Thimble berry spreads primarily through roots, up to 2' per year.  However, it is easily controlled due to the shallow roots.  The upright stems tend to break off if pulled, but leaving the root to send up new shoots.  To control it, use a spade at the base of a stem to get to the root.  Then grasp the root with your hands and pull upward.  The roots are very sturdy and you can pull it up all the way to the patch from which it came, then cut it off at that point with garden shears, and push any remaining root back into the soil.  Do not use herbicide to control; since the roots may all be connected, the entire patch of thimble berry may die.

Habitat: Thimble berry grows throughout the western United States north through Canada into Alaska, and in the Great Lakes region (and in parts of the northeast), but is less common in more arid areas.
Thimble berry grows well in containers and the shallow roots ensure that the plant doesn't escape.

NOTE: Thimble berry plants are too delicate to ship except when they are just coming out of dormancy.  They are shipped bare root and are ONLY shipped in April and early May.
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