Rubus boulayi – Series Sylvatici

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A tall-growing bramble with robust stems and very large leaves, similar to R. macrophyllus, but with a broadly obovate and inflated (strongly convex) terminal leaflet which has a short petiolule. It is a species of northern France, with the British distribution almost restricted to south-east Dorset and south-west Hampshire. These photos were taken of a single colony on Southampton Common, Hampshire.


The panicle is long and narrow with a head of flowers at the top on divergent stout peduncules. The rachis is nearly straight, covered with a layer of pubescence and numerous sessile glands. There are frequent small declining or slightly curved prickles.

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Flowers are about 2.5-3cm diameter. Petals are c.14-15 x 7-8mm, pale pink (darker pink in bud), obovate and gradually tapered to a narrow base, giving a gappy appearance to the flower; they are also erose or shallowly notched at the apex (in these photos). The sepals are pale green and pubescent, not distinctly white-bordered, finely pointed, loosely reflexed at flowering (or curled up, appearing patent). The stamens are longer than the styles with glabrous anthers; styles are yellowish green, carpels and receptacle are hairy.

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Leaves have five leaflets which are noticeably inflated (or nearly flat), mid to dark green in colour and glabrescent above. The terminal leaflet is broadly obovate, 9-12 x 8-9cm, with a relatively short cuspidate tip, coarsely serrate margin with the principal teeth often prominent and curved to one side. The base is entire to emarginate and the petiole fairly short, about 1/4 the length of the lamina. Leaflets are of similar shape and also quite large in the panicle.

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Leaflets are paler green and thinly pubescent below.


The stem is bluntly angled with flat or convex sides, green (becoming brown in the sun) with prominent pale green striations. It is shortly and thinly pubescent with abundant light golden coloured sessile glands. Short-stalked glands may be present but rare (there is one visible in the second photo on the underside of the stem). Prickles are variable in length but often longer than the stem diameter, moderately slender, patent to declining and pale green or yellowish-brown in colour.

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