Southern Dewberry

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White and green surround
A circle of gender parts
Dancing in the spring.

Dorothy Rodwell   

A new species I found in Hendry County is the Southern Dewberry, Rubus trivialis, a member of the Rosaceae (Rose) family. This plant grows from a thick trailing vine-like stem which support several erect stems. Stems are hairy and colored a reddish brown. Like a rose, this species has thorns that are tiny but, very sharp. Dewberry is an aggressive grower that can form extensive mats. Thorns are used to climb over other vegetation. Leaves are compound with 3 or 5 elliptic leaflets, 2 to 4 inches long and ¾ to 1 ½ inches wide. Leaflet margins are coarsely toothed.

Flowers occur in clusters of one to three at the tips of the erect stems. The flower’s corolla has five bright white petals that are separated exposing a green calyx underneath. Most flowers have a few male stamens that surround a female pistil housing ovaries. With this species, it is a shower of stamens with multiple pistils. Curious.

Dewberry’s fruit are small spherical berries that are initially white and red, eventually turning black to resemble a blackberry. They are edible.