Parts Used: Leaves are typically the only part of rubus used medicinally, while the fruit is commonly eaten as food. The leaves hold the chemical structures of most of the medicinal constituents in this plant, such as tannins, flavonoids, alkaloids and vitamins. Traditionally the shoots have also been used.
Rubus idaeus is a biennial, deciduous, understory shrub that grows anywhere from 1.5-8 feet tall. The light brown to yellow woody stems are covered in large prickles. The 3-5 inch leaves are alternate and pinnately compound, that form in leaflets of 3-7. The oval shape of the toothed leaves taper to a point. The leaves are also completely covered in small white hairs and appear fuzzy. The stalks of the leaves are also covered in longer hairs. Typically, during the second year of the stems biennial lifespan, flowers and fruit will grow. Flowers generally appear from May-July. The flowers are about ½ inch width, perfect, white and grow in small clusters. There are about 1-4 flowers in each compound cyme. There are infinite (10+) styles in each flower. The flowers typically get pollinated by bees. The fruit that forms from these flowers are made from several drupelets. An aggerate of these drupelets is the entire fruit, commonly known as the raspberry. The fruit is usually red in color when ripe but can sometimes be white. Unripe fruits are lighter pink in color and not soft.
Rubus idaeus is able to grow in a variety of climates throughout North America, commonly in hardwood forests, alongside hiking trails, and in open fields. Often, this plant takes over the plant life in higher, alpine elevations and is very common to see. Rubus is also an understory shrub and commonly grows under the canopies of Douglas Fir, Cottonwood, Hemlock, Cedar and other trees common in the North or high elevations. As an understory shrub, rubus grows well in shade although the plant prefers partial sunlight and loves moist to dry soils.
Some other plants commonly growing near rubus idaeus are thimbleberry, fireweed, and huckleberry.