(Rubus parviflorus)

Conservation Status
  IUCN Red List

not listed


NNR - Unranked

SNR - Unranked


not listed

Wetland Indicator Status
  Great Plains

FACU - Facultative upland


FACU - Facultative upland

  Northcentral & Northeast

FACU - Facultative upland


Thimbleberry is an erect perennial shrub that rises from an underground horizontal stem (rhizome). It can be 40 to 80 long, though in Minnesota it is usually no more than 18 to 48 in height. It often forms large, dense clumps.

A series of biennial stems (canes) are sent up from the perennial rhizome. The canes are erect to ascending, and unbranched. They do not have bristles or prickles. In the first year they are green and are covered with glandular hairs. In the second year they are woody and hairless and the bark is thin, tan, papery, and flaky.

The leaves are large, alternate, deciduous, and long stalked. The leaf stalks are 2¼ to 7 long and are covered with reddish, gland-tipped hairs. At the base of each leaf stalk there is a pair of leaf-like appendages (stipules). The stipules are lance-shaped and ¼ to ¾ long. The leaf blades are velvety to the touch, round to kidney-shaped in outline and about as long as wide. They are usually 4 to 8 long, sometimes up to 12 long. They and are heart-shaped or deeply cut at the base, and are palmately cut into usually 5, sometimes 3, shallow, pointed lobes. The lobes are cut no more than one third of the way to the midvein. The upper surface is green and sparsely to densely covered with short hairs. The lower surface is somewhat lighter green and similarly hairy but with glandular hairs along the main veins. The margins are irregularly toothed or double toothed with sharp, forward-pointing teeth.

The inflorescence is either a single flower or a long-stalked, leafy, flat-topped cluster (corymb) with 2 to 10 large flowers at the end of the stem. They appear from May to late July, peaking in late June to late July. Each flower is in a to 1½ long stalk (pedicel). The pedicel is densely covered with glandular hairs.

The flowers are 1to 2 in diameter. There are 5 sepals, 5 petals, and numerous stamens. The sepals are green, egg-shaped to triangular, and have a narrow, elongated, tail-like tip. They are to 11 16long including the tip. They are covered on the back (outside) with very short, orangish-yellow, gland-tipped hairs; and on the inside with white non-glandular hairs. The petals are white, broadly egg-shaped to nearly circular, and to 1 long. They have a texture like crinkled tissue paper. The stamens are pale yellow.

The fruit is a juicy, fuzzy, broadly hemispheric, to ¾ wide aggregate of multiple drupelets. It is initially pinkish-white, becoming progressively darker pink, eventually bright red when ripe. It matures in early August to mid-September. When ripe it falls intact to the ground.




40 to 80


Flower Color




Similar Species


Moist to moderate moisture. Forest clearings, woodland openings, thickets, roadsides, power lines. Partial sun.




May to late July


Pests and Diseases


thimbleberry stem gall wasp (Diastrophus kincaidii)




Distribution Map



2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 24, 28, 29, 30.





The primary range for this species is western North America, stretching from New Mexico to the Pacific coast and north to Alaska. The presence of isolated populations in the Great Lakes region is probably due to a once contiguous range separated by repeated glaciations.




Uncommon but often locally abundant

  Kingdom Plantae (green algae and land plants)  
  Subkingdom Viridiplantae (green plants)  
  Infrakingdom Streptophyta (land plants and green algae)  
  Superdivision Embryophyta (land plants)  
  Division Tracheophyta (vascular plants)  
  Subdivision Spermatophytina (seed plants)  
  Class Magnoliopsida (flowering plants)  
  Superorder Rosanae  


Rosales (roses, elms, figs, and allies)  


Rosaceae (rose)  
  Subfamily Rosoideae (brambles, roses, strawberries, and allies)  
  Tribe Rubeae (bramble)  


Rubus (brambles)  
  Subgenus Anoplobatus  

Subordinate Taxa


Plants from coastal California have been recognized as var. velutinus. The underside of the leaves tend to be densely hairy. However, this may be an environmentally induced variation. Most taxonomists do not recognize any varieties of thimbleberry.




Rubacer tomentosum

Rubacer velutinum

Rubus nutkanus

Rubus nutkanus var. velutinus

Rubacer parviflorum

Rubus parviflorus ssp. velutinus

Rubus parviflorus var. bifarius

Rubus parviflorus var. grandiflorus

Rubus parviflorus var. heteradenius

Rubus parviflorus var. hypomalacus

Rubus parviflorus var. parvifolius

Rubus parviflorus var. parviflorus

Rubus parviflorus var. velutinus


Common Names




western thimbleberry











Aggregate fruit

A compound fruit consisting of many separate individual fruits derived from separate ovaries in a single flower, like a raspberry or blackberry.



A flat-topped or convex inflorescence in which the stalked flowers grow upward from various points on the main stem to approximately the same horizontal plane. The outer flowers open first.



A fleshy fruit with a single hard, stone-like core, like a cherry or peach.


Glandular hairs

Hairs spread over aerial vegetation that secrete essential oils. The oils act to protect against herbivores and pathogens or, when on a flower part, attract pollinators. The hairs have a sticky or oily feel.



Similar to a hand. Having more than three lobes or leaflets that radiate from a single point at the base of the leaf.



On plants: the stalk of a single flower in a cluster of flowers. On insects: the second segment of the antennae. On Hymenoptera and Araneae: the narrow stalk connecting the thorax to the abdomen: the preferred term is petiole.



A horizontal, usually underground stem. It serves as a reproductive structure, producing roots below and shoots above at the nodes.



An outer floral leaf, usually green but sometimes colored, at the base of a flower.



A small, leaf-like, scale-like, glandular, or rarely spiny appendage found at the base of a leaf stalk, usually occurring in pairs and usually dropping soon.

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Found on the Superior Hiking trail, about 3-4 ft. tall. In one area of the trail it seemed to be everywhere.


Bill Reynolds



    thimbleberry   thimbleberry  




    thimbleberry   thimbleberry  


    thimbleberry   thimbleberry  








Visitor Videos

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Other Videos
  Thimbleberry Flowers (Rubus parviflorus)
Wandering Sole TV

Published on Jul 6, 2012

Blossoms on thimbleberry shrubs in the East Kootenays.

  Rubus parviflorus
Eugen Helmbrecht

Uploaded on Oct 14, 2009

Dendrology class

  Rubus parviflorus

Published on Oct 26, 2013

Thimbleberry is a shrub that grows up to 3 meters in height. Large white flowers in the spring give way to rounded seedy edible berries. June 2013




Visitor Sightings

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October 2019

Location: Cook County, Superior Hiking Trail

Found on the Superior Hiking trail, about 3-4 ft. tall. In one area of the trail it seemed to be everywhere.

  Bill Reynolds

Location: near the lower falls at Gooseberry Falls State Park.







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