Rubus scissus – Section Rubus

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A species of scrub and woodland margins on heathland and moorland, widespread and locally abundant throughout the UK. It is distinguished by the usual presence of some leaves with 7 leaflets (note bottom right leaf on the image below) and numerous prickles on the stem (more so than most other species in the section). These photos are of a single colony taken in the New Forest, Hampshire in 2010.


The panicle is a short raceme with typically around 8 flowers. The rachis may have variable numbers of hairs and sessile/subsessile glands, with up to a few slender prickles. Petals are white but may be pink in bud. Sepals are green with a narrow white border, patent to erect. Stamens are short. Young carpels and the recepacle are usually pilose. Styles are yellow. The fruit is dark red when ripe, but usually partly abortive.


Leaves have 5-7 imbricate leaflets which are mid to dark green and plicate. The leaf margin is finely but often unevenly serrate or lobed (a small lobe is visible in the first image below). Leaflets are sparsely hairy above and thinly to moderately densely hairy below. The terminal leaflet is c.7 x 8 cm, ovate, with a cordate base and acuminate tip.

scissus scissus

The first-year stem is erect to slightly declining, up to c.1.5m tall, though usually shorter. It is strongly furrowed with blunt ridges, green to brownish and glabrous/shining. There are numerous sessile and subsessile glands and slender, subulate prickles (can be much finer than in the example below). Prickles are patent to slightly declining, mostly yellow, with a brownish or reddish base; not confined to the angles.