Thimbleberry, Purple-Flowering Raspberry

Rubus odoratus

Family: Rosaceae (ro-ZAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Rubus (ROO-bus) (Info)
Species: odoratus (oh-dor-AY-tus) (Info)



Foliage Color:


Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Water Requirements:

Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)


6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)


USDA Zone 3a: to -39.9 C (-40 F)

USDA Zone 3b: to -37.2 C (-35 F)

USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)

USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)

USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)

USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun



Bloom Color:


Bloom Time:

Mid Summer



This plant is resistant to deer

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall

Self-sows freely; deadhead if you do not want volunteer seedlings next season

Seed Collecting:

Unblemished fruit must be significantly overripe before harvesting seed; clean and dry seeds


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:


Falmouth, Maine

Valley Lee, Maryland

Chester, Massachusetts

Roslindale, Massachusetts

Frenchtown, New Jersey

Haines Falls, New York

Jefferson, New York

Syracuse, New York

West Kill, New York

Clearfield, Pennsylvania

Millersburg, Pennsylvania

Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania

Newport Center, Vermont

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Jun 8, 2016, liebenswert from Quebec City, QC (Zone 4b) wrote:

VERY Durable. I found this plant in my garden from one of the previous owners. Not sure how long its been there but I found it by the beautiful purple flowers on a maple leafed, thorny stem. Unique! I thought I killed it, but found it reinvigorated this year creeping from beneath a half buried cinder block. Trying to take cuttings now to relocate elsewhere in my garden.


On Apr 6, 2015, janelp_lee from Toronto, ON (Zone 6a) wrote:

I live in Toronto, Ontario, we have lots of this here in woods. I grow them from seeds when weather is warm or indoors and semi-green wood cuttings in late fall/early winter. So, it is not just able to grow this from seeds.


On Feb 24, 2014, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

This is a good ornamental where you have enough space, especially on the edge of moist woodland.

The 2" fragrant rose-like deep pink flowers are showy and produced over a long season. The fruit is also ornamental and is relished by wildlife. (It's edible---I find it bland and dry, but some people love it.) The canes have harmless hairs instead of sharp prickers.

Good shade tolerance.

Like all raspberries, it can spread fairly aggressively by suckering. Mature plants may be propagated by division. A good plant for wild areas.

Native from Maine to Wisconsin and south in the Appalachians to northern Alabama.


On Jul 17, 2010, Alaria from Rockport, MA wrote:

I came across this plant growing wild while camping out in Vermont many years ago. Not only was it very lovely but its raspberries, unlike most of those mentioned in the comments, were quite delicious! They were a bit different from standard raspberries -- aside from the dome shape, their flavor is hard to describe: raspberry but a bit more dry, brisk, and subtle -- a kind of "sophisticated," flavorful berry. Perhaps the quality of the flavor varies among these plants?


On Jun 15, 2010, Daylahmnas from Chester, MA (Zone 3b) wrote:

Seen along roadsides and then at a nursery for the cost of fifteen dollars, I thought this plant would add a bit of variety to my ever changing garden landscape. I waited a year and the birds gifted me with this plant, located where I would have never have thought to plant it. It has since grown to five feet wide and three feet wide, burgeoning with blooms from June 15th to frost. It dies back in winter but the bare branches protect the north-west end of the porch from the incessantly strong winter and spring 5-50 mph. winds. The intense fushia-magenta blooms provide a welcome change of color and venue in the backdrop. This plant has many volunteers in the spring but they are easily discarded or transplanted in other locations with success if watered frequently.


On Jan 3, 2008, malsprower from Daytona, FL wrote:

This plant grows very fast and spreads like crazy! One unexpectedly started growing to fill an empty spot in our flower garden and new shoots from underground kept on popping up. I had to prune this plant constantly. This plant is very beautiful though and looks good in our flower garden. The raspberries taste soooo good! We find these things wild all over Vermont.


On Sep 3, 2004, MShelly from Jackson, NJ wrote:

I have plants growing at my house in NJ. from NC., VT., MA., PA. and NJ. They need plenty of water and do not grow well in pots. A plant I obtained from Tripple Brook Nursery had 126 flowers on a primocane in 3 bunches in July. The plant was 3 years old. It and the NC. plant had decent, but short lived flavor. Most plants have few flowers. I have seen none on 1 year old plants. The NC. plant was taller, later fruiting, and had a rounder fruit. Fruit falls off the day it ripens. Most plants are self-incompatible. If you want to see the fruit, you need 2 or more plants, preferably from different sources.
They do not have thorns but glans. They have a slight sticky feel when touched. The glans cover the buds giving a unique look. The leaves are simple, unlike most rubus species... read more


On Jul 20, 2004, CatskillKarma from West Kill, NY wrote:

This plant grows wild all over the mountain peaks in the Catskills, where it is a harsh zone 4, considerably colder than above. It grows alongside roadsides at lower altitudes, and offers a spectacular sight. I grow it in deep shade in my garden, zone 4b, 2000 feet below the peaks. It flourishes in my soggy wet clay with no attention, except pruning of anything unruly. It is much prettier than raspberries grown for fruit, and the fruits themselves, while not worth eating, are very decorative. All the plants around here flower a radiant deep pink, sort of crude, but visible from a great distance. It does have thorns, but they are not too vicious.


On Jul 19, 2004, Bethanyves from montreal,
Canada wrote:

Grow in full sun and shadow as well. Easy to propagate by divising in spring or fall. Grown in average soil as background for rudbeckia mix in full sun and with hosta & astilbe in shade.
Do flowers in both place, but incrase faster in sun. Do not seem to be invasive.


On Aug 26, 2002, smiln32 from Oklahoma City, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

Fruit is tasteless. This rambling shrub can reach up to 5 ft tall.