E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Rubus spectabilis Pursh
Rosaceae (Rose family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Kevin Newell  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #2468)

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Distribution of Rubus spectabilis
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Species Information

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Medium to tall shrub, 1-4 m tall, from extensive rhizomes, often thicket-forming; stems erect to arching, unarmed to strongly bristly, especially below, the bristles short and straight; bark yellowish-brown, shredding.
Alternate, deciduous, pinnately compound, 7-22 cm long; leaflets 3, egg-shaped, 3-15 cm long, shallowly lobed and double-saw-toothed, sharply long-pointed at the tip, greenish on both surfaces, smooth to sparsely hairy above, paler and hairy on the veins beneath; stipules linear, 5-10 mm long.
Inflorescence of mostly 1 or 2 stalked, nodding flowers on short, leafy, lateral branchlets; corollas rosy red to reddish-purple, bowl-shaped, the petals 5, spreading, elliptic to egg-shaped, 10-25 mm long; calyces hairy, 5-lobed, the lobes lance-egg-shaped, spreading, 7-15 mm long; ovaries superior; stamens 75 to 100.
Drupelets, smooth, more or less coherent in a yellow or salmon to dark red cluster that falls intact from the semi-fleshy receptacle (raspberry-like), the berries 1.5-2 cm long.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

USDA Species Characteristics

Flower Colour:
Blooming Period:
Early Spring
Fruit/Seed characteristics:
Colour: Red
Present over the Spring
Source:  The USDA

Habitat / Range

Moist to wet forests, swamps and streambanks in the lowland and montane zones; common in coastal BC; N to AK and S to CA.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Rubus spectabilis

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class




Elevation (metres) 0 247 2050
Slope Gradient (%) 0 18 150
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
0 270 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
0 4 8
Modal Nutrient Regime
Number of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in: CDF(117), CWH(2616), ESSF(37), ICH(47), IDF(3), MH(119), MS(9), SBS(20)

Ecological Indicator Information

A shade-tolerant/intolerant, submontane to subalpine, Asian and Western North American deciduous shrub distributed more in the Pacific than the Cordilleran region. Occurs in hypermaritime to maritime cool mesothermal climates on very moist to wet, nitrogen-rich soils: its occurrence increases with increasing precipitation and decreases with increasing elevation and continentality. Very common on water-receiving (floodplain and seepage) and water-collecting sites; tolerates fluctuating groundwater tables. Often dominant in early-seral communities where it hinders natural regeneration and growth of shade-intolerant conifers. Usually associated with Alnus rubra, Athyrium filix­femina, Lysichitum americanum Oplopanax horridus, Rubus parviflorus, and Tiarella trifoliata. A nitrophytic species characteristic of Moder and Mull humus forms.

SourceIndicator Plants of Coastal British Columbia (Information applies to coastal locations only)


The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is cool mesothermal.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

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General References