The tall stature of this bramble with long, narrow, weakly-armed panicles bearing pink flowers make this species reasonably distinctive. It is endemic to south-east England, where it may be found in small clumps and scattered individual plants, especially on woodland edges. It is a typical member of the Vestiti having downy stems with inconspicuous glands.
Panicles may be erect, reaching over 2 metres in height, but more often extend out perpendicularly from the plant.
Note the relatively large flowers, stout branches and the presence only of fine prickles, which are virtually absent from the upper half of the panicle.
Panicles have well-developed leaves at the base, which resemble those on the stem, but typically with only three leaflets. In the middle of the panicle there may be a few single leaflets, which are narrowly lanceolate in shape, with prominent sharp, narrow teeth. Rubus conspersus is quite similar to R. criniger, but that has longer and thinner branches in the panicle and usually fairly strong downward-pointing prickles on the rachis, including the upper half.
The rachis is more or less straight, densely pubescent throughout, with frequent short-stalked glands hidden amongst the hairs.
Flowers are about 3cm in diameter with creamy pink petals (which apparentely do not fade to white), obvovate in shape, often crumpled and slightly concave, c.13-16 x 8-10mm. Sepals are downy with just a few inconspicuous glands and small acicles, narrowly pale-bordered with long points, reflexed at flowering.
Styles are yellow, sometimes red-tinged at the base (visible in the next two photos below). Stamens are longer than the styles, white or sometimes pale pink. Anthers are usually glabrous, which may help distinguish from R. criniger, which often has a few hairs on the anthers. Carpels are described as bearded or densely hairy and the fruit is large.
Petals in perfect condition are concave.
Leaves have five leaflets, the terminal leaflet varying from almost round to elliptic to broadly ovate, moderately large, c.8-11 x 5-8cm. It has a thick, rather long petiole. The leaf margin is coarsely and irregularly serrate, with a mixture of broad and narrow teeth, some of which may curve downwards. The margin may be flat or slightly undulate. The leaf tip is usually well-defined as a fairly long narrow tip, which is often curved to one side; the leaf base is subentire to shallowly cordate in shape.
Leaflets are softly pubescent below, usually appearing grey or greenish-grey felted.
Underside of a panicle leaflet:
The first-year stem is bluntly angled, flat or slightly furrowed, with frequent medium-sized yellow to brownish prickles on the angles and a moderatley dense covering of short hairs. Short-stalked glands and acicles may be found amongst the hairs. The stem is yellowish-green in colour, becoming mottled with reddish-brown in older, exposed specimens (possibly a useful ID character).