Rubus macrophyllus – Series Sylvatici

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As its name suggests this is a large-leaved and also a tall-growing bramble. It is a widespread European species, frequent in parts of south-east England, reaching as far as the Welsh borders, Lancashire and south Yorkshire. Useful identification characters include the pale pink petals and filaments and the ovate terminal leaflet with a distinctly cordate base.

R. macrophyllus

The inflorescence is rather simply-branched (subracemose) and strongly downy like the stems, with sparse, short fine prickles - appearing almost unarmed. Short-stalked glands are rare on the rachis, floral branches and sepals. The panicle has 3-foliate leaves below and one or two large simple leaves above (as in the photo above). Sepals are reflexed after flowering, but the photos here show some becoming patent as the fruit develops.

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Flowers are about 2.5-3cm diameter, with pale, creamy pink petals (appearing almost white in some of these photos due to use of flash), elliptical to obovate in shape, 16-17 x 9mm. Note that the stamens take on a hint of a distinctive salmon-pink colour - the only other species with stamens this colour is R. albionis (which is easily told by its hairy anthers). The stamens are a little longer than the pale yellow-green styles. Carpels are glabrous; receptacle hairy. This is a large-fruited species.

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The leaves are distinctive in their large size with shallowly toothed leaflets, mid green in colour. The terminal leaflet may reach 15 x 10cm according to the published description but in these photos was about 11 x 7 cm. It is usually ovate with a longish acuminate apex and a cordate base, but some may be more elliptical in shape with an emarginate base. Note the tendency to droop or curve over and become convex. There is a slight uneveness in the margin, with a suggestion of very shallow lobing, better seen in the lower leaves of the panicle. The principal teeth can be retrorse in this species, but not as markedly so as R. calvatus, another large-leaved Sylvatican.

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Leaflets are thin in texture, softly hairy below but pale green in colour and not felted.

R. macrophyllus R. macrophyllus

Stems are downy, bluntly angled with flat or slightly furrowed sides, green or turning brownish in the sun. They have frequent slightly declining fine prickles nearly always slightly shorter than the width of the stem.

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