(Rubus phoenicolasius Maxim.)
Family: Rose family (Rosaceae)
Wineberry is a deciduous shrub that grows up to 6 feet tall. The arching stems (canes), petioles, flowering stems, and buds have a dense covering of reddish, gland-tipped hairs and a few slender prickles. Leaves are alternate. Each leaf is made up of three leaflets; the terminal leaflet is much larger than the other two. Leaflets are egg-shaped with long, pointed ends; the edges of the leaflets are toothed. The undersides of the leaves are covered with fine white hairs, making them conspicuously white.
Clusters of flowers appear in spring. Each flower has five small white petals; the sepals are much longer than the petals, so the flowers look like buds, even when they are in bloom. The shiny, bright red fruits ripen in early summer. Wineberry grows best moist, sunny areas, such as disturbed areas or wet meadows, although it also grows in thickets and open woodlands.
Wineberry seeds are dispersed by birds, turtles, and mammals (including humans) that eat the red berries. Plants also reproduce vegetatively by underground rhizomes and by the aching stems; when the tips of the stems touch the ground, they can sprout roots, forming new plants.
Other raspberry species (Rubus spp.) also have arching canes, prickly or thorny stems, and divided leaves with white undersides. Wineberry is distinguished by having a dense covering of bristly, glandular hairs interspersed with longer prickles, and also by its very large terminal leaflet.
Wineberry can rapidly form dense, shady thickets that crowd out native plants.
Wineberry is native to China and Japan. It was introduced into the United States to be used as breeding stock for other kinds of raspberries. It has escaped cultivation and now grows throughout much of the East. In New England, it is currently known in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Vermont.
Sources and Links:
Invasive Plant Atlas of New England (IPANE)
Invasive.org Fact Sheet – Wineberry
USDA Plants Database
US Forest Service Fact Sheet