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The compound drupes (fruits) of Common Dewberry are edible to humans; when they are fully ripened, their flavor is pleasant. Common Dewberry can be distinguished from most Rubus spp. (Blackberries) by its vine-like habit. There are other Rubus spp. that are woody vines in various areas of the state, but they are less common. One of them, Rubus trivialis (Southern Dewberry) is restricted to southern Illinois. Its appearance and growth habit is similar to Common Dewberry, but the young stems of Southern Dewberry usually have sharp bristles and prickles. The young stems of Common Dewberry have soft hairs and prickles, but not sharp bristles. The leaves of Southern Dewberry are evergreen, while those of Common Dewberry are deciduous. The appearance of Common Dewberry is somewhat variable across its broad range, although different varieties have not been described for Illinois.

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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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