Purple Flower Raspberry
Other names: Thimbleberry, Flowering Raspberry, Virginia Raspberry
Family: Rosaceae (Rose Family)
Range: Eastern US and Canada
Native Habitat: Wooded areas
Bloom Time: June through August
The fruit is edible, but is drier and more crumbly than other raspberries and blackberries, so this plant is generally grown in gardens for the flowers. You can tell this is a member of the rose family- it reminds me very strongly of beach roses (Rosa rugosa).
This plant does not have thorns, unlike most other Rubus species. The showy flowers also make it much easier to tell apart from the other Rubus species than normal. (I despair of figuring out the various white flowered blackberries most days.) It also has perennial, not biennial, stems, again, unlike most Rubus species.
My favorite place to find this plant is Mackworth Island State Park. I usually walk the perimeter path of the island in the opposite direction as most people (starting on the side away from the school). There are two patches of these in the first third or so of my walk – one right after you walk around a cut from a stream, before you hit the first ‘corner’ of the island, and one at one of the beach entrances, right before you reach the second ‘corner’ of the island.
While this plant is called Thimbleberry, Thimbleberry is a more common common name for Rubus parviflorus, which is found in the west.
Locations in Photos:
Mackworth Island State Park, Falmouth, ME
My father’s garden in Ellsworth, ME
Fort McClary State Historic Site, Kittery, ME
Coastal Maine Botanical Garden, Boothbay, ME (You can find these in the back corner of the Children’s Garden).