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Rubus ichangensis - Hemsl.&Kuntze.

AuthorHemsl.&Kuntze. Botanical references11, 200, 266
FamilyRosaceae GenusRubus
Known HazardsNone known
RangeE. Asia - C. and W. China.
HabitatThickets and ravines to 1800 metres[109]. Slopes, fallow fields, dense forests in valleys and thickets at elevations of 800 - 2500 metres[266].
Edibility Ratingapple iconapple iconapple icon 3 (1-5) Medicinal Ratingapple icon 1 (1-5)

Physical Characteristics

icon of man icon of shrub A decidious Shrub growing to 0.3m by 3m.
It is hardy to zone 7 and is frost tender. It is in flower in July, and the seeds ripen from August to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.

The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and requires well-drained soil. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It requires moist soil.


Woodland Garden; Sunny Edge; Dappled Shade; Shady Edge;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Fruit.

Fruit - raw or cooked[61, 105]. Small, red, sweet and well flavoured[1, 11, 46, 183, 266]. The red fruit is 6 - 8mm in diameter[266].

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.


The root is ised in medicine[266]. We have no further information, but the root is a good source of tannins and so is likely to be used as an astringent[K].

Other Uses

Dye; Tannin.

A purple to dull blue dye is obtained from the fruit[168]. Tannin is extracted from the roots and stems[266].

Cultivation details

Easily grown in a good well-drained loamy soil in sun or semi-shade[1, 11, 200]. Plants are not very happy in windy situations, especially if the winds are maritime[K]. The young growth in spring can be damaged by late frosts. Plants in this genus are notably susceptible to honey fungus[200].


Seed - requires stratification and is best sown in early autumn in a cold frame. Stored seed requires one month stratification at about 3c and is best sown as early as possible in the year. Prick out the seedlings when they are large enough to handle and grow on in a cold frame. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring of the following year. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame[200]. Tip layering in July. Plant out in autumn. Division in early spring or just before leaf-fall in the autumn[200].



[K] Ken Fern
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.

[1] F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956 Oxford University Press 1951
Comprehensive listing of species and how to grow them. Somewhat outdated, it has been replaces in 1992 by a new dictionary (see [200]).

[11] Bean. W. Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement. Murray 1981
A classic with a wealth of information on the plants, but poor on pictures.

[46] Uphof. J. C. Th. Dictionary of Economic Plants. Weinheim 1959
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.

[61] Usher. G. A Dictionary of Plants Used by Man. Constable 1974 ISBN 0094579202
Forget the sexist title, this is one of the best books on the subject. Lists a very extensive range of useful plants from around the world with very brief details of the uses. Not for the casual reader.

[105] Tanaka. T. Tanaka's Cyclopaedia of Edible Plants of the World. Keigaku Publishing 1976
The most comprehensive guide to edible plants I've come across. Only the briefest entry for each species, though, and some of the entries are more than a little dubious. Not for the casual reader.

[109] Wilson. E. H. Plantae Wilsonae. 0
Details of the palnts collected by the plant collector E. H. Wilson on his travels in China. Gives some habitats. Not for the casual reader.

[168] Grae. I. Nature's Colors - Dyes from Plants. MacMillan Publishing Co. New York. 1974 ISBN 0-02-544950-8
A very good and readable book on dyeing.

[183] Facciola. S. Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants. Kampong Publications 1990 ISBN 0-9628087-0-9
Excellent. Contains a very wide range of conventional and unconventional food plants (including tropical) and where they can be obtained (mainly N. American nurseries but also research institutes and a lot of other nurseries from around the world.

[200] Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press 1992 ISBN 0-333-47494-5
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.

[266] Flora of China 1994
On-line version of the Flora - an excellent resource giving basic info on habitat and some uses.



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