Rubus idaeus (Wild Red Raspberry)

Plant Info
Also known as: American Red Raspberry, Common Red Raspberry
Family:Rosaceae (Rose)
Life cycle:perennial woody
Habitat:part shade, sun; moist to dry soil; open woods, woodland edges, meadows, lakeshores, roadsides, railroads
Bloom season:May - July
Plant height:3 to 4 feet
Wetland Indicator Status:GP: FACU MW: FACU NCNE: FAC
MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

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Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: 5-petals Cluster type: raceme

[photo of flowers] 3 to 8 stalked flowers in loose clusters at the tips and upper leaf axils of 1-year-old stems. Flowers are white, 1/3 to ½ inch across with 5 mostly erect, oblong to narrowly spatula-shaped petals that tend to fall off early (deciduous). In the center is a cluster of many styles surrounded by a ring of numerous white stamens.

[photo of glandular hairy calyx and stalks] The 5 sepals are broadly triangular, tapering to a long, tail-like tip, longer than the petals, widely spreading and curving down (recurved), light green on the inner surface, the outer surface green to reddish and covered in glandular hairs. Flower stalks are up to 1 1/3 inch long, covered in glandular hairs with scattered stiff, slender bristles.

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

[photo of leaves] Leaves are alternate and compound with 3 or 5 leaflets, mostly in 3s on flowering stems and pinnately in 5s on non-flowering stems. Leaflets are egg-shaped to oblong, the center leaflet is stalked and sometimes 2 or 3 lobed, the lateral leaflets stalkless and unlobed, typically 1½ to 3½ inches long, 1 to 2¼ inches wide, with a long taper to a slender, pointed tip and rounded to heart-shaped at the base. Edges are single or double toothed, the upper surface dark green, sparsely hairy to smooth, lower surface silvery and densely hairy.

[photo of stem bristles] Leaf stalks are covered in gland-tipped hairs and slender, stiff bristles that are straight to slightly curved or angled downward. At the base of the compound leaf stalk is a pair of appendages (stipules) that are ¼ to 1/3 inch long and narrowly lance-linear. New canes (primocanes) are green to reddish and densely covered in slender, stiff bristles mixed with softer, gland-tipped hairs, more so towards the tip. Second year canes (floricanes) produce the flowering branches, the canes dying before the third year but new canes emerging from spreading rhizomes.

Fruit: Fruit type: berry/drupe

[photo of fruit] Fruit is a round to cone-shaped cluster, 1/3 to ½ inch in diameter of fleshy druplets, turning purplish red and easily separating from the receptacle when mature, and very tasty!


Red Raspberry is ubiquitous throughout much of Minnesota and frequently found along roadsides and hiking trails. Its fruits are readily and widely decimated by both birds and mammals, resulting in widespread seed dispersal. It establishes quickly from seed, after which vigorous and aggressive rhizomes often create dense colonies. It is probably the most widely recognized and consumed wild fruit, though in deerfly season a head net is highly recommended. Native to both Europe and North America, our variety is var. strigosus, which has gland tipped hairs that are absent on the European var. idaeus.

Rubus is a large and difficult genus; both flowering (floricane) and non-flowering (primocane) stems from the same plant may be necessary for a positive ID. Characteristics to look for are the size and shape of the flower, whether there are glandular and/or non-glandular hairs (on sepals, leaves, stalks and/or stems), whether there are any broad-based prickles or slender bristles, number of leaflets and whether they are palmately or pinnately compound, whether the fruit easily separates from the receptacle, whether canes root at the tip. Red Raspberry has small flowers with mostly erect petals, glandular hairy and bristly all over, leaves pinnately compound in 5s (primocane) or 3s (floricane) that are silvery on the underside, the fruit easily separates from the receptacle, and canes do not root at the tips. Contrast with Black Raspberry (Rubus occidentalis), which is generally a larger shrub, canes that arch and root at the tips, has scattered broad-based prickles, no bristles or glandular hairs, and the fruit does not easily separate from the receptacle.

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More photos

Photos by K. Chayka taken at Iona Beach SNA, Lake County, and St. Croix Savanna SNA, Washington County. Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in Anoka, Lake and Ramsey counties.


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

Posted by: Marisa - Duluth
on: 2016-06-16 14:07:10

Blooming now in Bagley Nature Center on UMD campus and very noisy with the buzz of hundreds of bees!

Posted by: Mary - Dakota County, Rosemount
on: 2019-07-19 16:28:24

I found 5 plants in my yard 8 years ago. Transplanted to a better location, and the berries kept getting larger and larger every year. It is easy to get more plants than you can ever take care of. Do not plant near trash cans. If the fruit appears to be watery do not consume it will have some sort of fly maggot. Not that it will hurt you, but.... I use ORGANOCIDE, BEE SAFE 3 in 1 Garden Spray... READ the DIRECTIONS!!! It can only be sprayed AFTER the BEES go to bed! Preserves are a plenty 3 years in. And if you are so lucky to have 5th year plants they are GORGEOUS! The plants will keep you busy picking July thru September. Some people will tell you to cut the plant to 18 inches in the fall. I'm lucky enough to have deer and bunnies to nibbel them down for me during winter months. I have NEVER had a problem with furry critters in this garden during growing and fruiting season. Please, feel free to contact me if I am doing something wrong. And thanks for this site!

Posted by: Anita - Bloomington
on: 2019-08-25 20:06:37

I have raspberry vines in the wooded areas on my lot. As far as I know, none of them produce berries. I'm interested in moving them to a better location in hopes of getting some berries. I'd be interested in knowing how much sun is ideal for them and if they have any other preferences for care. I read Mary from Roseville's comments with much interest.

Posted by: Sherrie Hood - Litner Point, Burntside Lake, Ely MN
on: 2020-07-23 10:16:33

I have this Wild Red Raspberry w berries. It is stated here as "native" On SEEK it is not described as native or introduced. Description is where it came from. Can I assume it is introduced if it's origin is elsewhere? Is there a source I can use to find plants that originate in northern North America. Or is "native" a "fiction"? Reason I'm asking is I'd like to clear out introduced plants like Tansy as much as possible. Thank you.

Posted by: K. Chayka
on: 2020-07-23 14:18:31

Sherrie, wild raspberries are native to Minnesota. Check the MN distribution map, you'll see it is found all across the state.

Posted by: Stephen Thomforde - Duluth
on: 2024-03-27 12:27:42

This plant is listed in Europe and now North America , multiple databases, EPA, NOAA, as an indicator of high nitroegen soils. Vast monocultures in a woodlands are an early warning signal of terrestrial eutrophication. The next wave in buckthorn and othe nasty nitrophiles (nitrophytes). Diervilla lonicera is anohter. As we have walked the north woods for 50 years, it has become increasingly difficut to walk as monocultures of Rhubus expand, and I thought this looked like a N signature. Warning. We need to restore biomass harvest as the prinicple renewal regime of all Midwest ecosystems or risk eutrophication. :(

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