This species is fairly common on the heaths of south Hampshire, Dorset and north Norfolk, and also occurs on the Lleyn Peninsula in north Wales. It is scattered elsewhere over the southern half of England. Its most distinctive feature is the presence of very long, slightly kinked prickles on the smooth stems. Like most other members of Section Rubus there are no stalked glands anywhere on the plant.
Flowers are about 2-3cm in diameter (larger than most other species in the section) and are white or pale pink (easier to detect in buds about to open). The filaments of the stamens may also be pale pink and the styles are usually red-based. Sepals in bud are quite green-looking due to lack of pubescence in the centre, but are white-edged - features typical of section Rubus.
The stamens are as long as or longer than the styles and often have a few hairs.
The leaflets are imbricate (overlapping). They are often folded down the centre or along the veins and the toothing can be quite coarse. The terminal leaflet is ovate in shape with a cordate base.
The leaflets are greenish-grey felted below.
The photos below are of the upper side and underside of the same leaf showing the coarse, irregular toothing.
The prickles are rather widely spaced and are usually significantly longer than than the width of the stem (a relatively rare feature in brambles). Note the upturned ends.