Rubus arcticus (Arctic Raspberry)

Plant Info
Also known as: Arctic Bramble, Nagoonbery, Northern Blackberry
Family:Rosaceae (Rose)
Life cycle:perennial woody
Habitat:part shade, shade; wet; bogs, swamps, fens, tickets, wet forests
Bloom season:June - July
Plant height:4 to 6 inches
Wetland Indicator Status:GP: FACW MW: FACW NCNE: FACW
MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

Pick an image for a larger view. See the glossary for icon descriptions.

Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: 5-petals Flower shape: 6-petals Flower shape: 7+petals

[photo of flower] Single flower at the tip of a long slender stalk, pink to rose-purple, ½ to 1 inch across, with 5 to 8 narrowly paddle-shaped petals, widest above the middle (obovate), rounded at the tip and tapered to a slender base, and often somewhat twisted or curled. In the center is a short column of numerous erect stamens, about the same color as the petals, surrounding a cluster of about 20 pistils.

[photo of calyx] Alternating with the petals are an equal number of sepals that are narrowly triangular, widely spreading to arching, light green and about half as long as the petals. Sepals and stalks are usually short-hairy and sometimes glandular.

Leaves and stems: Leaf attachment: alternate Leaf type: compound Leaf type: palmate

[photo of leaves] Leaves are alternate and compound with 3 leaflets (ternate). Leaflets are diamond-shaped to elliptic, usually widest above the middle, ¾ to 1¾ long, ½ to 1 1/3 inches wide, rounded to blunt at the tip, wedge-shaped to rounded at the base, the lateral leaflets stalkless or nearly so, the terminal leaflet short-stalked, and the compound leaf stalk ¾ to 2 1/3 inch long and sparsely hairy to smooth. Leaflet edges are coarsely toothed on at least the upper half, either single or double-toothed. The upper surface is sparsely hairy to smooth, lower surface smooth. At the base of the leaf stalk is a pair of leafy appendages (stipules), about ¼ inch long, egg-shaped to elliptic. Main stems are annual (herbaceous) from a woody base, up to 6 inches tall, spreading to erect, sparsely hairy to smooth and without bristels or spines. Small colonies are formed from underground stems (rhizomes).

Fruit: Fruit type: berry/drupe

[photo of fruit] Fruit is round cluster, ¼ to 1/3 inch in diameter, of fleshy druplets, turning purplish-red when mature, and tasty!


Arctic Raspberry is a circumpolar species that only dips into the lower 48 states in Minnesota and the western Rockies. In Minnesota it is found in both open and forested northern sphagnum swamps but it is not common. The species is divided into three subspecies with subsp. acaulis found in Minnesota. Besides other minor differences in characteristics, subsp. stellatus is found in western Canada and Alaska has simple leaves that are 3-lobed rather than compound (which can be seen in the fruit image above, taken in Alaska). As the plant is mostly herbaceous, when not it flower its leaves can be confused with Wild Strawberry (Fragaria spp.), but the leaves on F. virginiana are generally hairy throughout, especially the leaf stalk, and F. vesca leaves are more sharply and evenly toothed. It can also be confused with the white flowering Dwarf Raspberry, (Rubus pubescens), but its leaves are more sharply pointed at the tip, hairy on the underside, and its has long, above-ground, running stems (stolons) up to several feet long.

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More photos

Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in Beltrami county. Fruit photo courtesy Bob Armstrong taken in Alaska.


Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?

Posted by: Gary - St. Louis County
on: 2019-03-04 00:12:52

Near Zim under tamaracks.

Posted by: Debbie Petersen - Cass County, south of Boy River.
on: 2019-06-06 19:00:05

I found a small colony of Arctic Raspberry in a forested wetland/bog along the Soo Line Trail just south/southeast of Boy River.

Posted by: Monte Mason - Bog Walk - Waskish
on: 2020-06-01 00:51:47

Found three or so of these plants in bloom, May 28. Never seen them before. Also a nodding trillium.

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