White-Stemmed Bramble (Rubus cockburnianus)

Having just celebrated Valentines’ Day  on the Greenway with our #LoveYourGreenway campaign we thought best to talk about a member of the rose family located beside our favourite lady of the Greenway - Jadis the White Witch!

Many of us know Rubus plants but maybe didn’t know that they are part of the rose family. The rambling growth habit and vicious thorns are a clue to the family heritage yet locally we often simply call them brambles.

Photo Credit: Paul Hunter, C.S. Lewis Square

Rubus can be deciduous or evergreen shrubs, with bristly or prickly stems bearing simple, lobed, palmate or pinnate leaves. They have 5-petalled flowers followed by bright, juicy, sometimes edible fruits such as blackberries. There are so many types of rubus that the scientific study of them even has a name "batology”!

The white stemmed bramble is a native of China and was introduced into cultivation in the UK in 1907 and is very popular for its distinctive white stems. Its lance-shaped leaflets are dark green above, white and hairy beneath. It has saucer shaped purple flowers 1cm across which develop into rounded black fruits and do not taste nice. It requires regular hard pruning to prevent it getting overgrown and to allow it to show off its white stems.

Where to find it?

We have planted the white stemmed bramble as part of our Winter Narnia around the library at Holywood Arches in C.S. Lewis Square. We have used it to help create a cold frozen look no matter what the weather or season. The plants love the partial shade and its luminous stems brighten up the planted areas against the darker background of pines.

Photo Credit: Paul Hunter, C.S. Lewis Square

Be Part of it…

Like our sweetheart Jadis the white stems have a cold look as well as a vicious bite if you cross them so be careful when next visiting Narnia. Look out for insects and birds which love brambles for the food and protection which they provide.

As always send us your pictures and suggestions for plant of the week.