Index of Species Information

SPECIES:  Rubus canadensis


SPECIES: Rubus canadensis
AUTHORSHIP AND CITATION : Coladonato, Milo. 1994. Rubus canadensis. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: [].
ABBREVIATION : RUBCAN SYNONYMS : NO-ENTRY SCS PLANT CODE : RUCA2 COMMON NAMES : thornless blackberry TAXONOMY : The currently accepted scientific name for thornless blackberry is Rubus canadensis L. (Rosaceae). No infrataxa are currently recognized [11,23]. LIFE FORM : Shrub FEDERAL LEGAL STATUS : No special status OTHER STATUS : NO-ENTRY


SPECIES: Rubus canadensis
GENERAL DISTRIBUTION : Thornless blackberry's range extends from Newfoundland to Ontario and along the Atlantic Coast south to Georgia and inland to Kentucky and Tennessee [27,32,35]. ECOSYSTEMS : FRES10 White - red - jack pine FRES11 Spruce - fir FRES14 Oak - pine FRES15 Oak - hickory FRES18 Maple - beech - birch FRES19 Aspen - birch STATES : CT DE GA KY ME MD MA MI MN NH NY NC PA RI SC TN VT VA WV WI NB NF NS ON PQ BLM PHYSIOGRAPHIC REGIONS : NO-ENTRY KUCHLER PLANT ASSOCIATIONS : K093 Great Lakes spruce - fir forest K095 Great Lakes pine forest K096 Northeastern spruce - fir forest K097 Southeastern spruce - fir forest K099 Maple - basswood forest K100 Oak - hickory forest K102 Beech - maple forest K103 Mixed mesophytic forest K104 Appalachian oak forest K107 Northern hardwoods - fir forest K108 Northern hardwoods - spruce forest K111 Oak - hickory - pine forest K112 Southern mixed forest SAF COVER TYPES : 5 Balsam fir 14 Northern pin oak 17 Pin cherry 18 Paper birch 23 Eastern hemlock 24 Hemlock - yellow birch 25 Sugar maple - beech - yellow birch 27 Sugar maple 30 Red spruce - yellow birch 31 Red spruce - sugar maple - beech 32 Red spruce 33 Red spruce - balsam fir 34 Red spruce - Fraser fir 35 Paper birch - red spruce - balsam fir 42 Bur oak 45 Pitch pine 46 Eastern redcedar 53 White oak 57 Yellow-poplar 58 Yellow-poplar - eastern hemlock 59 Yellow-poplar - white oak - northern red oak 60 Beech - sugar maple SRM (RANGELAND) COVER TYPES : NO-ENTRY HABITAT TYPES AND PLANT COMMUNITIES : Thornless blackberry is a common understory species in open deciduous forests, on mountain ridges, and in disturbed areas [4,15,19,20,22]. Common understory associates of thornless blackberry include mountain maple (Acer spicatum), serviceberry (Amelanchier spp.), hobblebush (Viburnum alnifolium), scarlet elder (Sambucus pubens), common blackberry (Rubus allegheniensis), beaked hazel (Corylus cornuta), southern mountain cranberry (Vaccinium erythrocarpum), minnie-bush (Menziesia pilosa), and rosebay (Rhododendron catawbiense) [1,24,28,31].


SPECIES: Rubus canadensis
IMPORTANCE TO LIVESTOCK AND WILDLIFE : Thornless blackberry is an important food for wildlife. Game birds, songbirds, raccoons, chipmunks, and squirrels eat the fruits. Deer and rabbits extensively browse the leaves and stems [5]. PALATABILITY : NO-ENTRY NUTRITIONAL VALUE : NO-ENTRY COVER VALUE : Thornless blackberry's extensive colonies provide excellent cover for wildlife. The colonies create nearly impenetrable thickets where birds, rabbits, and other animals hide. Colonies of thornless blackberry are common nesting sites for small birds [5]. VALUE FOR REHABILITATION OF DISTURBED SITES : Thornless blackberry has good erosion control value. It grows satisfactorily on barren and infertile soils and invades and occupies eroded areas. Thornless blackberry also establishes quickly on burns, old fields, and logged areas [5,37]. OTHER USES AND VALUES : The fruit of all species of blackberries are used to make desserts and sweet liqueurs [39]. OTHER MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : Maintaining openings in the overstory is the key to promoting thornless blackberry because invading trees and shrubs quickly shade it out. Thornless blackberry can be encouraged or rejuvenated by removing overhead shade, mowing, light burning, or deep cultivation [5]. Thornless blackberry is moderately sensitive to ozone [12,26].


SPECIES: Rubus canadensis
GENERAL BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS : Thornless blackberry is a deciduous, erect or arching, thicket-forming shrub which grows to 10 feet (2-3 m) in height [3,32,35,36]. The alternate compound leaves are 4 to 8 inches (10-20 cm) long. The numerous flowers are borne in clusters of up to 25. The fruit is an aggregate of small drupes, each containing a single hard-pitted nutlet [3,32]. Rhizomes are typically about 3 to 4 inches (8-10 cm) below the surface [9]. RAUNKIAER LIFE FORM : Hemicryptophyte REGENERATION PROCESSES : Reproductive versatility is well represented in the Rubus genus [7]. Thornless blackberry reproduces from seeds, by sprouting from rhizomes and the root crown, and by layering [5]. Vegetative propagation is the primary source of development of the dense colonies [5,15]. Seeds are probably dispersed by birds and animals that eat the fruit. Aboveground stems can reach 3 feet (1 m) in height in less than 2 months [21]. SITE CHARACTERISTICS : Thornless blackberry grows across a wide range of sites throughout the cool, moist climate of the Northeast [3,32]. It is very common in woods, old fields, cool hollows, and along roadsides [5,36]. Thornless blackberry is a mid- to high-elevation shrub. Frequency of thornless blackberry on heath balds in the Great Smoky Mountains was as follows [37]: Elevation 1200 m 1520 m 1980 m Frequency* 17 50 33 *average percentage of 6 plots SUCCESSIONAL STATUS : Thornless blackberry is shade intolerant [22]. It is present in mature spruce-fir forests in North Carolina [29], but not in sites undisturbed for 40 or more years in New Brunswick [9]. It shows vigorous growth in full sunlight and invades and colonizes many types of disturbed sites [5,6]. Vegetational changes following the death of Fraser fir (Abies fraseri) in the Great Smoky Mountains included a large (>10-fold) increase in thornless blackberry [22]. It is frequent in canopy gaps in spruce-fir (Picea spp.-Abies spp.) forests of the Great Smoky Mountains [13,16]. In canopy gaps in American beech (Fagus grandifolia) forest in the Great Smoky Mountains, thornless blackberry showed 93 percent frequency on 14 stands [28]. SEASONAL DEVELOPMENT : Thornless blackberry flowers from May to June. Fruits ripen in early summer and persist into September. The seed disperses in September [3,5].


SPECIES: Rubus canadensis
FIRE ECOLOGY OR ADAPTATIONS : Thornless blackberry is favored by fire [29,35,38]. Burning typically stimulates sprouting [5]. Root crowns and rhizomes are primarily in the mineral soil, a morphological trait that favors high rates of survival following fire [9]. Even severe fires provide conditions where thornless blackberry can establish or increase [29,37]. Spruce-fir forests, in which thornless blackberry occurs, burn infrequently but are more likely to burn after logging or other disturbances [37]. POSTFIRE REGENERATION STRATEGY : Rhizomatous shrub, rhizome in soil Small shrub, adventitious-bud root crown FIRE REGIMES : Find fire regime information for the plant communities in which this species may occur by entering the species name in the FEIS home page under "Find Fire Regimes".


SPECIES: Rubus canadensis
IMMEDIATE FIRE EFFECT ON PLANT : Fire top-kills thornless blackberry [9]. Thornless blackberry probably survives most fires by sprouting from rootstocks and/or rhizomes [5,9]. PLANT RESPONSE TO FIRE : Like all blackberries, thornless blackberry is well adapted to colonize burns [6,35]. After logging and slash burning in the spruce-fir zone of the Appalachian Mountains, blackberry species were predominant on most sites [37]. Saunders and others [29] reported that thornless blackberry made up 19 percent of the stems present in the shrub layer following a severe fire in the mountains of western North Carolina. FIRE MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : NO-ENTRY


SPECIES: Rubus canadensis
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Saunders, Paul R.; Smathers, Garrett A.; Ramseur, George S. 1983. Secondary succession of a spruce-fir burn in the Plott Balsam Mountains, North Carolina. Castanea. 48(1): 41-47. [8658] 30. Shanks, Royal E. 1954. Climates of the Great Smoky Mountains. Ecology. 35: 354-361. [11124] 31. Siccama, T. G. 1974. Vegetation, soil, and climate on the Green Mountains of Vermont. Ecological Monographs. 44: 325-249. [6859] 32. Soper, James H.; Heimburger, Margaret L. 1982. Shrubs of Ontario. Life Sciences Misc. Publ. Toronto, ON: Royal Ontario Museum. 495 p. [12907] 33. Stickney, Peter F. 1989. Seral origin of species originating in northern Rocky Mountain forests. Unpublished draft on file at: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory, Missoula, MT; RWU 4403 files. 7 p. [20090] 34. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Soil Conservation Service. 1982. National list of scientific plant names. Vol. 1. List of plant names. SCS-TP-159. 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