Rubus winteri – Series Discolores

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This bramble occurs in hedgerows and scrub on chalky soils in south-west England, but is also recorded from the Midlands, Wales, SE Ireland and other scattered sites. It has long horizontal or pendent panicles which have a narrowly triangular inflorescence of large, pale pink flowers. Leaflets are nearly white below.

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The rachis is slightly flexuose and the floral branches are short, stout and widely divergent. Longer branches arise from the base of the panicle. The rachis and branches are densely pubescent without any glands. The leaves at the base of the panicle have 1-3 narrow leaflets, which are white-felted beneath.

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Flowers are large and showy, about 3cm across with pale pink petals up to 16 x 13mm. The petals are brighter pink in bud and on freshly opened flowers. They are often crumpled and have an irregular margin. The stamens are comparitively long, sometimes pale pink at the base and either glabrous or sometimes with a few hairs on the anthers. The sepals are broadly triangular, reflexed and concave inside with medium long points, pubescent, often reddening inside at the base as the fruit begins to develop. Styles are pale yellow or green. The receptacle is hairy and the carpels pilose.

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Leaves are yellow-green to mid green in colour with five leaflets. Leaflets are compoundly serrate with undulating margins giving a strongly crisped appearance. An interesting feature is the curved, stiffened main vein which gives them a distinctive humped appearance, especially noticeable on the terminal leaflet. The shape of the terminal leaflet varies from narrowly oblong (with parallel sides) to more broadly obovate. There is a long cuspidate-acuminate apex and the base is entire to slightly indented.

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Younger leaves on near-prostrate stems growing on chalk grassland have much narrower and flatter leaflets, but still have the distinctive crisped margins.

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Leaflets are silvery or whitish-green below, confirming that this plant belongs in series Discolores.

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Stems are moderately robust, sharply or bluntly angled, usually becoming dark purple in colour, though often with a speckled appearance. They have numerous to dense coarse whitish hairs which may be very obvious on older stems. The prickles are long-based, quite stout, usually strongly declining and curved or sometimes slightly declining and nearly straight, purple with a yellow point. They can be quite sparse along the stems or moderately crowded.

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