Record display

Record Number


PROSEA Handbook Number

2: Edible fruits and nuts


Rubus L.


Sp. Pl. 1: 492 (1753); Gen. Pl.: 864 (1754).



Chromosome Numbers

x = 7

Major Taxa and Synonyms

Major species and synonyms
- Rubus chrysophyllus Reinw. ex Miq., Fl. Ind. Bat. 1(1): 380 (1855), subgenus Malachobatus;
- Rubus fraxinifolius Poiret, Lam. Enc. Meth. 6: 242 (1806), subgenus Idaeobatus;
- Rubus megacarpus P. Royen, Phan. Mon. 2: 65 (1969), subgenus Micranthobatus;
- Rubus niveus Thunb., Diss. Rubo: 9, fig. 3 (1813), synonym: Rubus lasiocarpus J.E. Smith (1815), subgenus Idaeobatus;
- Rubus pectinellus Maxim., Mél. Biol. Acad. St. Petersb. 8: 374 (1872), subgenus Chamaebatus;
- Rubus rosifolius J.E. Smith, Pl. Icon. Hact. Ined. 3: t. 60 (1791), subgenus Idaeobatus.

Vernacular Names

General: blackberry, raspberry (En). Muron, framboise (Fr).
- Rubus chrysophyllus: Indonesia: kupi-kupi, pingat (Sumatra), grunggung kepok (Java).
- Rubus fraxinifolius: Indonesia: beberetean (Sundanese), kecalingan (Java), jalanggara (Moluccas). Malaysia: ragimot (Sabah). Papua New Guinea: pising (Bougainville). Philippines: pinit (Ifugao), balinana (Mangalay). Vietnam: cây tu lui.
- Rubus megacarpus: Papua New Guinea: bilkanamail.
- Rubus niveus: Indonesia: kala kucet (Java), conco poco (Flores), sakanati nono (Timor). Philippines: pilai (Tagalog). Laos: mak thou. Vietnam: ngây tuyêt.
- Rubus pectinellus: Philippines: apukid (Bontok), bagalbalan (Bagobo), bana (Igorot).
- Rubus rosifolius: Indonesia: bereretean (Java), gunggung (Bali), sabit (Kalimantan). Philippines: init (Iloko), lagiauat (Lanao), ragini (Bikol). Vietnam: ngáy hong.

Origin and Geographic Distribution

This large, almost cosmopolitan genus has about 50 native species in South-East Asia and Australia.
- Rubus chrysophyllus occurs in Indonesia (Sumatra, Java, Lombok).
- Rubus fraxinifolius occurs in Indonesia (not in Sumatra), Malaysia (Sabah), the Philippines, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.
- Rubus megacarpus is only known from Mount Wilhelm in Papua New Guinea.
- Rubus niveus is widely distributed in the Himalayan region, Burma, Thailand, Indo-China, Indonesia (Sumatra, Java, Lesser Sunda Islands, Sulawesi) and the Philippines (Luzon). It is introduced and naturalized in Peninsular Malaysia and in southern and East Africa. It is cultivated in the United States (Florida: Mysore raspberry).
- Rubus pectinellus occurs in southern China, Taiwan, Japan and the Philippines.
- Rubus rosifolius occurs in India, Cambodia, Vietnam, Taiwan, Malesia (not in Peninsular Malaysia and Sumatra) and in Australia. It is introduced and naturalized in Africa and in parts of America.


Some species provide table fruits and fruits for jams and conserves in many temperate countries. In South-East Asia they are only locally grown for that purpose. The fruits are also locally collected from the wild as a luxury food. The pulp of some species (e.g. Rubus niveus) is considered a good local source of sugars. Rubus chrysophyllus is considered the choicest species of Indonesia, Rubus pectinellus of the Philippines. The fruits of Rubus fraxinifolius, Rubus megacarpus and Rubus rosifolius are sweet but without much taste. For several common species, local medicinal of roots and leaves are reported against dysentery, cough and thrush, fever, urinary troubles and abdominal pains.


Most species are climbing or sprawling shrubs with spiny stems and leaves. Leaves are simple or compound (palmate, pinnate or trifoliolate). Inflorescences are mostly paniculate, at the end of axillary leafy branches of determinate growth and terminating in a flower; flowers are regularly 5-merous; sepals are free and persist under the fruits; petals are free and usually white; stamens and pistils are numerous, the latter on an elevated torus. Many 1-seeded more or less juicy drupes stick together to form a collective fruit; they usually fall as a whole, either together with the dried torus (blackberry-like) or without (the collective fruit hollow and raspberry-like).
Rubus chrysophyllus is a very large plant with branches up to 10 m long and yellow to orange fruits. Rubus fraxinifolius is a large plant (up to 3 m) and has rich inflorescences; the fruits are red. Rubus megacarpus has very large, purplish, juicy fruits, about 5 cm x 3 cm, but few in number. Rubus niveus has up to 3.5 m long branches and is pink-flowered; the fruits are dark red to almost black. Rubus pectinellus is a creeper with wiry stems, bearing orange to red fruit. Rubus rosifolius resembles Rubus idaeus L., the European raspberry. The fruits are red and not very juicy.


Rubus rosifolius J.E. Smith - branch with flowers and fruits


Most species from tropical South-East Asia grow at higher altitudes, generally above 1000 m. They are typically plants of open sunny places, sometimes in light shade. Consequently, they are common in man-made habitats: roadsides, burnt grassland and shrubberies. Altitudinal ranges for the different species are: Rubus chrysophyllus 1000-3000 m, Rubus fraxinifolius 0-2500 m, Rubus megacarpus 3500-3750 m, Rubus niveus 1000-3000 m, Rubus pectinellus 750-2750 m, Rubus rosifolius 0-2000 m.

Propagation and planting

Vegetative propagation is by root suckers (stolons).


Rubus rosifolius is sometimes grown as an ornamental and is obviously suitable for cultivation. It might perhaps be improved. It has yet to be established whether hybridization between Rubus rosifolius and Rubus idaeus is possible in order to improve the juiciness and taste of the rather insipid fruits. Some other species (e.g. Rubus chrysophyllus) are also interesting, but it may not be easy to control the rampant growth.


Kalkman, C., 1984. The genus Rubus (Rosaceae) in Malesia. 2. The subgenus Malachobatus. Blumea 29: 319-386.
Kalkman, C., 1987. The genus Rubus (Rosaceae) in Malesia. 3. The subgenus Micranthobatus. Blumea 32: 323-341.
Zandee, M. & Kalkman, C., 1981. The genus Rubus (Rosaceae) in Malesia. 1. Subgenera Chamaebatus and Idaeobatus. Blumea 27: 75-113.


C. Kalkman

Correct Citation of this Article

Kalkman, C., 1991. Rubus L.. In: Verheij, E.W.M. and Coronel, R.E. (Editors): Plant Resources of South-East Asia No 2: Edible fruits and nuts. PROSEA Foundation, Bogor, Indonesia. Database record:

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