Plant of the Week

Rubus deliciosus range map.
Rubus deliciosus range map. USDA PLANTS Database.

Flowers of delicious raspberry.
The flowers of delicious raspberry are about two and a half inches across! Photo by Andrew Kratz.

Rubus deliciosus habitat.
Delicious raspberry grows on rocky slopes in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. Photo by Andrew Kratz.

Delicious Raspberry (Rubus deliciosus)

By Andrew Kratz

Delicious raspberry is certainly a lovely deciduous shrub with its bright green leaves and large white flowers. However, it is curiously named for a plant with fruit that tends to be fairly dry, with lots of seeds and little flesh, even if the flavor is nice. It has a relatively small geographic range, centered in Colorado and barely extending into the southern-most part of Wyoming and the northern-most part of New Mexico, as well as barely entering the panhandle of Oklahoma. Edwin James first collected it for western science at the mouth of Boulder Canyon, in Colorado, during his work as botanist, geologist, and surgeon for the Long Expedition in 1820.

Unlike so many different species of raspberry, this one has no thorns. It normally reaches about four to five feet in height, but occasionally reaches nearly nine feet. It has good potential for use in landscaping in the right environments. It grows on rocky slopes and swales in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, often mixed with other shrubs. It requires well-drained soil, but tolerates a wide range from acid to neutral or basic soil chemistry, and is quite frost hardy (Zone 5).

The simple, lobed leaves are a 2 to 3 inches long and broad. The arching stems have flaky, peeling tan bark. The fragrant flowers are about 2½ inches across, with five bright white petals, and the mature fruit is about ½ inch in diameter and dark red.

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Yellow Marsh Marigold (Caltha palustris).
Yellow Marsh Marigold (Caltha palustris)