Trailing blackberry

photograph by Kerry Neijstrom

Rubus ursinus

It’s high time we did a post on the mild-mannered cousin of the invasive blackberry we spend so much time trying to eradicate. Trailing blackberry is native to the northwest and also produces sweet berries from white to pink flowers. The smooth, thin, cylindrical stems have small thorns and a dull gray- green powdery coating, and trail delicately along the ground. The leaflets are toothed and split into three pointed leaflets.

These features set trailing blackberry apart from the invasive species, which have stiff, tall, arching, dark green stems with ridges and large thorns. The leaflets on the evergreen blackberry are deeply toothed and jagged-looking, on the Himalayan blackberry they are rounded. Both have five leaflets per leaf.

View the trailing blackberry native plant ID card from WNPS,

and take a look at the Himalayan and evergreen blackberry weed ID card to compare.

5 Replies to “Trailing blackberry”

  1. Hi,

    Just had a question. While hiking I ran across something I wanted to photograph and moved a trailing blackberry vine that was in my way. The spines on the vine caught the back of my hand and for three days it felt as though my skin was crawling and I had a slight burning on the skin like you get when you brush up against stinging nettles. Is this normal for this plant or am I just a little allergic it?

    1. Hm. I’ve never heard of any kind of reaction like this before. I did find a link,, which shows how trailing blackberry and poison oak can sometimes be confused (scroll down). Since you mention the thorns, I’m thinking you were probably right in identifying the blackberry, but this is all I could find. The only other thing I can think of is that the tiny cuts from the thorns got slightly infected and took a few days to heal.

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