TREES & plants

Wild blackberry

Leaves of wild blackberry.
Wild blackberry is a medium-sized shrub growing throughout roadsides, open fields and wood edges. Sweet, spicy edible fruits, attractive fall color and a valuable food source for wildlife. "This species is native to the Chicago Region according to Swink and Wilhelm's Plants of the Chicago Region, with updates made according to current research."
Botanical name: 
Rubus allegheniensis
All Common Names: 
Wild blackberry; Common blackberry; Allegheny blackberry
Family (English): 
Family (Botanic): 
Tree or Plant Type: 
  • Shrub
  • Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
Native Locale: 
  • Chicago area, 
  • Illinois, 
  • North America
Landscape Uses: 
  • Hedge, 
  • Massing
Size Range: 
  • Medium shrub (5-8 feet), 
  • Small shrub (3-5 feet)
Mature Height: 
3 to 6 feet high
Mature Width: 
6 to 12 feet wide
Light Exposure: 
  • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily), 
  • Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily), 
  • Full shade (4 hrs or less of light daily)
Hardiness Zones: 
  • Zone 4, 
  • Zone 5 (Chicago), 
  • Zone 6, 
  • Zone 7, 
  • Zone 8
Soil Preference: 
  • Acid soil
Acid Soils: 
  • Prefers
Alkaline Soils: 
  • Tolerant
Drought Conditions: 
  • Tolerant
Poor Drainage: 
  • Moderately Tolerant
Planting Considerations: 
  • Commonly planted, 
  • Dangerous thorns, 
  • Excessive sucker growth, 
  • Messy fruit/plant parts
Ornamental Interest: 
  • Summer blossoms, 
  • Fall color, 
  • Edible fruit, 
  • Showy fruit, 
  • Showy flowers, 
  • Attractive bark
Season of Interest: 
  • Early spring, 
  • Mid spring, 
  • Late spring, 
  • Early summer, 
  • Mid summer, 
  • Late summer, 
  • Early fall, 
  • Mid fall, 
  • Late fall
Flower Color & Fragrance: 
  • White
Shape or Form: 
  • Arching, 
  • Multi-stemmed, 
  • Open, 
  • Upright
Growth Rate: 
  • Fast
More Information: 

Tree & Plant Care

Sprawling, arching canes that form dense thickets, often reaching 10 feet long.
Canes are usually short-lived and should be pruned back after flowering to control size and encourage new growth.
Best in full sun but tolerant of part shade in moist, well-drained soils.

Disease, pests, and problems

Leaf spots, rust, mildew and cane borer

Native geographic location and habitat

C-Value:  3
Common in fence rows, roadsides, open woods and forest edges.
Native to the Midwest and northeastern U. S.

Attracts birds, pollinators, or wildlife

A popular shrub for birds and other wildlife.

Bark color and texture 

Stout, angled canes have large hooked prickles, dull reddish brown, lacking glaucous bloom.
Cane have a white pith and do not root at the tips, each cane live for 2 years.

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture

Alternate, palmately compound, 3 to 5 inches long and wide with 3 to 7 leaflets.
Dark green leaves are paler beneath, serrated margins, and prickles on petiole.
Fall color is wine-red to burgundy.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size

A profusion of white, 5-petaled, crinkled flowers with showy yellow stamens. Flowers on terminal tips of last years canes.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions

Black multiple aggregates, up to 1 inch long drupes.
Juicy fruits ripens in late summer. When picked, the fruit does not separate from its core.


Rubus allegheniensis or Wild blackberry