Rubus thyrsigeriformis – Series Hystrices

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This bramble was known from Southampton Common and other parts of southern Hampshire by the Rubus specialist David Allen, who by chance came across a specimen in the British Museum herbarium from Cherbourg, France (at the time under a different name) which he realised was the same taxon. He later visited that locality and refound it. The details were published in the journal Watsonia in 1989, too late to be included in Edees and Newton's Brambles of Britain and Ireland (1988). More recently it has been found to be widespread in the Bath and Bristol area. It may be a relatively new arrival to this country. It is quite a distinctive member of the Hystrices, with narrow, bright pink notched petals and deep red styles.

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Flowers are about 2.5cm across. The petals are widely spaced with large gaps between them. They measure c.11-15mm long x c.7-8mm wide and are notched at the tip. The sepals have long narrow leafy tips which are patent or reflexed at flowering, with some becoming erect after the petals have dropped. The panicle branches are rather long and slender, widely divergent, and adorned with numerous fine prickles and abundant stalked glands and hairs.

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The stamens are short and rather sparse, so hardly obscure the red styles, which have yellowish tips.

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Leaves are usually 3-foliate, but some have lobes on the lateral leaflets where the basal leaflets would be. Leaflets are almost glabrous to sparsely hairy above and a little more hairy below. The terminal leaflet is obovate with a deeply serrate (incised) margin above, nearly straight sides below and a long finely acuminate apex.

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The stem has a fairly typical Hystrican armature, with numerous prickles varying in size, but these photos show that the main prickles are mostly confined to the angles and the smaller pricklets occur on the faces. There are also frequent stalked glands and sparse, long hairs.

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