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Creeping Chinese Bramble

Rubus tricolor

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Rosaceae (Rose)
Also in this family:
Acute Leaf-lobed Lady's-mantle, Alpine Cinquefoil, Alpine Lady's-mantle, Ampfield Cotoneaster, Arran Service Tree, Arran Whitebeam, Barren Strawberry, Bastard Agrimony, Bastard Service Tree, Bearberry Cotoneaster, Bird Cherry, Blackthorn, Bloody Whitebeam, Bramble, Bristol Whitebeam, Broad-leaved Whitebeam, Broadtooth Lady's-mantle, Bronze Pirri-pirri-bur, Bullace Plum, Bullate Cotoneaster, Burnet Rose, Catacol Whitebeam, Caucasian Lady's-mantle, Cheddar Whitebeam, Cherry Laurel, Cherry Plum, Chinese Photinia, Cloudberry, Clustered Lady's-mantle, Common Agrimony, Common Hawthorn, Common Lady's-mantle, Common Medlar, Common Ninebark, Common Whitebeam, Crab Apple, Creeping Cinquefoil, Crimean Lady's-mantle, Cultivated Apple, Cultivated Pear, Cut-leaved Blackberry, Damson, Devon Whitebeam, Dewberry, Diel's Cotoneaster, Dog Rose, Doward Whitebeam, Dropwort, Elm-leaved Bramble, English Whitebeam, Entire-leaved Cotoneaster, False Salmonberry, Field Rose, Firethorn, Fodder Burnet, Fragrant Agrimony, Franchet's Cotoneaster, Garden Lady's-mantle, Garden Strawberry, Giant Meadowsweet, Glaucous Dog Rose, Goatsbeard Spiraea, Gough's Rock Whitebeam, Great Burnet, Greengage Plum, Grey-leaved Whitebeam, Hairless Lady's-mantle, Hairy Lady's-mantle, Hautbois Strawberry, Himalayan Blackberry, Himalayan Cotoneaster, Himalayan Whitebeam, Hoary Cinquefoil, Hollyberry Cotoneaster, Hupeh Rowan, Hybrid Cinquefoil, Hybrid Geum, Irish Whitebeam, Japanese Cherry, Japanese Quince, Japanese Rose, Jew's Mallow, Juneberry, Lancaster Whitebeam, Late Cotoneaster, Least Lady's-mantle, Least Whitebeam, Leigh Woods Whitebeam, Ley's Whitebeam, Liljefor's Whitebeam, Littleleaf Cotoneaster, Llangollen Whitebeam, Llanthony Whitebeam, Lleyn Cotoneaster, Loganberry, Many-flowered Rose, Margaret's Whitebeam, Marsh Cinquefoil, Meadowsweet, Midland Hawthorn, Mougeot's Whitebeam, Mountain Ash, Mountain Avens, Mountain Sibbaldia, Moupin's Cotoneaster, No Parking Whitebeam, Ocean Spray, Orange Whitebeam, Pale Bridewort, Pale Lady's-mantle, Parsley Piert, Pirri-pirri-bur, Plymouth Pear, Portuguese Laurel, Purple-flowered Raspberry, Quince, Raspberry, Rock Cinquefoil, Rock Lady's-mantle, Rock Whitebeam, Round-leaved Dog Rose, Round-leaved Whitebeam, Rum Cherry, Russian Cinquefoil, Salad Burnet, Sargent's Rowan, Scannell's Whitebeam, Service Tree, Sharp-toothed Whitebeam, Sherard's Downy Rose, Shining Lady's-mantle, Ship Rock Whitebeam, Short-styled Rose, Shrubby Cinquefoil, Silver Lady's-mantle, Silverweed, Slender Parsley Piert, Slender-spined Bramble, Small-flowered Sweetbriar, Small-leaved Sweetbriar, Soft Downy Rose, Somerset Whitebeam, Sorbaria, Sour Cherry, Southern Downy Rose, Southern Lady's-mantle, Spineless Acaena, Spring Cinquefoil, St. Lucie's Cherry, Steeplebush, Stern's Cotoneaster, Stirton's Whitebeam, Stone Bramble, Sulphur Cinquefoil, Swedish Service Tree, Swedish Whitebeam, Sweet Briar, Symond's Yat Whitebeam, Tengyueh Cotoneaster, Thimbleberry, Thin-leaved Whitebeam, Tibetan Cotoneaster, Tormentil, Trailing Tormentil, Tree Cotoneaster, Trefoil Cinquefoil, Twin-cliffs Whitebeam, Two-spined Acaena, Wall Cotoneaster, Water Avens, Waterer's Cotoneaster, Waxy Lady's-mantle, Welsh Cotoneaster, Welsh Whitebeam, White Burnet, White's Whitebeam, White-stemmed Bramble, Wild Cherry, Wild Pear, Wild Plum, Wild Service Tree, Wild Strawberry, Willmott's Whitebeam, Willow-leaved Bridewort, Willow-leaved Cotoneaster, Wineberry, Wood Avens, Wye Whitebeam, Yellow-flowered Strawberry
Deciduous shrub
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
2 metres tall
Gardens, waterside, woodland.

White, 5 petals
5 white petals. Flowers appear in clusters at the end of stems.
Juicy, red, aggregated drupes.
The younger leaves are ovate and lightly toothed. As the leaves age, they become slightly pinnate with 3-5 lobes. The leaves are dark, shiny, crinkly and slightly leathery in appearance. The undersides of the leaves are a pale green. The leaf veins are covered in red bristles or hairs. In fact, the entire plant is covered in bristles.
Other Names:
Red Raspberry, Thimbleberry.
Frequency (UK):
Occasionally seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Rubus tricolor, also known as the thimbleberry or red raspberry, is a species of flowering plant in the rose family. It is native to North America, and is found in a variety of habitats, including forests, fields, and along streams and rivers. The plant is a deciduous shrub with red stems and leaves, and it produces white or pink flowers in the spring. The fruit is a small, red raspberry that is sweet and juicy when ripe. Rubus tricolor is closely related to the blackberry, and the two plants are often confused. The fruit of Rubus tricolor is similar in size and flavor to a blackberry, but it has a softer texture and is less acidic.


Chinese Creeping Bramble (Rubus tricolor) is a vigorous, perennial plant that is native to the mountains of central and southern China. It is a member of the Rosaceae family and is closely related to other popular berry plants such as blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries. This plant is also commonly known as the “Three-color Berry” due to its distinctive tri-colored leaves, which are green on the top, purple underneath, and with a silvery sheen.

This plant is known for its fast-growing, trailing habit and its ability to cover large areas with its green foliage and delicate flowers. The Chinese Creeping Bramble produces clusters of small, white flowers in the spring and early summer, followed by an abundance of sweet, juicy berries that mature to a bright red color. These fruits are an important food source for many bird species and can also be used for making jellies, syrups, and wines.

One of the key features of the Chinese Creeping Bramble is its highly adaptable nature, making it a great choice for gardeners who want to add a touch of beauty to their landscape without too much fuss. This plant is low maintenance and can grow in a wide range of soil types, from sand to clay, as long as it is well-draining. It can also tolerate full sun to partial shade, which makes it a great option for a variety of garden settings.

Another benefit of growing the Chinese Creeping Bramble is its hardiness. This plant is able to withstand harsh weather conditions and is generally disease-free, although it is susceptible to powdery mildew in certain regions. This makes it a great choice for gardeners who want to add a bit of color and fruit to their landscape without having to worry about the plant getting sick or dying during the growing season.

If you're interested in growing Chinese Creeping Bramble, it's important to note that this plant spreads quickly and can become invasive in certain areas. To avoid this, it's recommended that you plant the bramble in a container or in an area of your garden that is well-contained. This will prevent it from spreading to other parts of your yard or to surrounding areas.

When planting Chinese Creeping Bramble, choose a spot that is in full sun to partial shade and has well-draining soil. Make sure to amend the soil with compost or other organic matter to help the plant establish roots and grow well. Water the plant regularly, especially during the first growing season, to help it become established.

Pruning is also important for the health and appearance of Chinese Creeping Bramble. Prune the plant annually in late winter or early spring, removing any dead or damaged canes and thinning out older canes to make room for new growth. This will help the plant stay healthy and produce abundant fruit year after year.

In addition to its ornamental value, the Chinese Creeping Bramble is also a valuable source of food for both humans and wildlife. The sweet, juicy berries can be harvested and used in a variety of ways, from making jams and jellies to wine and syrups. The leaves can also be harvested and used in tea blends or as a flavoring in cooking.

In terms of propagation, Chinese Creeping Bramble is easy to propagate from cuttings. Simply take a cutting of new growth in late spring or early summer and plant it in a container filled with well-draining soil. Keep the soil moist and place the container in a bright, sheltered location until roots have formed and new growth appears, then plant the cutting in the ground or in a larger container.

Another method of propagation is through layering. To do this, simply bend a low-growing cane to the ground and secure it in place with a stake or rock. Cover the bent cane with soil, leaving a portion of the cane exposed. In a few months, roots will form where the cane is in contact with the soil, and you can then cut the cane from the parent plant and plant it in a new location.

If you're interested in growing Chinese Creeping Bramble for its fruit, it's important to choose a variety that is well-suited to your climate. Some of the most popular varieties include ‘Boysenberry’, ‘Himalayan Giant’, and ‘Black Satin’. These varieties produce large, juicy berries that are packed with flavor and are ideal for use in a variety of recipes.

In conclusion, the Chinese Creeping Bramble is a versatile and attractive plant that offers a range of benefits for gardeners. Whether you're interested in its ornamental value, its sweet fruit, or its adaptable nature, this plant is a great choice for adding a touch of beauty and a source of food to your landscape.


Creeping Chinese Bramble filmed around the Chorley area of Lancashire during May, June and July of 2023.


Music credits
Legends Of The River by Audionautix is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license.

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Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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