Though best known for blackberry and raspberry (see separate entries), the brambles include many ornamental plants, most of them thornless. Those listed here differ from blackberry and raspberry not only in their lack of prickles but also in having perennial rather than biennial stems. Spring flowers are followed by small, edible berries that attract birds. Need good drainage; spread widely by rhizomes. Plant ground cover types about 2 ft. apart. Deer seldom bother these plants.
R. odoratus. FLOWERING RASPBERRY. Zones US, MS; USDA 6-7. Deciduous. Native to northeastern U.S. and Appalachians. Loose, rambling shrub to 58 ft. tall and wide. Handsome, rich green, maplelike leaves grow 510 in. long, with three to five lobes. Clusters of showy, rosy purple, 1- to 2-in.-wide flowers appear in early summer; these are followed by mealy reddish berries (edible but tasteless) that ripen in July or August. Good for woodland gardens, naturalized areas. Grow in moist, organically enriched soil and filtered shade.
R. rolfei (R. pentalobus, R. calycinoides). CREEPING BRAMBLE, CREEPING RASPBERRY. Evergreen. Zones US, MS, LS; USDA 6-8. Native to mountains of Taiwan. Thickly foliaged stems spread at a moderate rate to form a dense carpet to 1 ft. high. Rounded, 1- to -in. leaves have three to five broad, ruffled-edged lobes; upper surfaces are lustrous dark green and rough textured, undersides are grayish white and felted. Small white flowers resemble those of strawberry; tasty berries are salmon colored. Full sun or light shade. 'Emerald Carpet' is a commonly sold selection with superior foliage.
R. rosifolius. ROSELEAF RASPBERRY. Evergreen. Zones US, MS, LS; USDA 6-8. Native to Asia and Australia. Rambling shrub to 6 ft. tall; spreads to form large thickets. Dark green, corrugated-looking leaves, 46 in. long, have three to seven leaflets and resemble rose foliage. Single, inch-wide white flowers bloom in early summer and again in fall; tasteless red berries ripen in summer and late fall. 'Coronarius' is a spectacular 4- to 5-ft.-tall selection with double white, 4-in.-wide blossoms that strongly resemble old roses; they appear from March through June on last year's growth, from August through September on the current year's growth. Blooms at an early age; produces no berries. Tolerates most soils and prefers light shade. Sometimes listed as R. coronarius.