Sunday, May 2, 2010

Rose-leafed Raspberry at Goomburra

Rubus rosifolius
I was glad I snapped this lovely fruit when I did.

It was beside the path at Goomburra National Park early on Saturday morning - but had gone an hour later. It was the only fruit in the place, and obviously too tempting for someone.

Rose-leafed raspberry is an international plant, often known overseas as “Japanese Raspberry”. It’s one of our three local raspberry species, and is the one with the best fruit. It’s unlikely to be often grown by bush tucker enthusiasts, though. The plants are very prickly, and are very variable within the species, with regard to fruit size, flavour, and quantity. As well, the very similar-looking Rubus probus is considered to have reliably better fruits so it has come to be the native raspberry of choice in Australian bushfood gardens.
(Native from the Helidon Hills to Cooktown, and occurring in New Guinea as well, R. probus is easily mistaken for R. rosifolius, but can be distinguished by the fruit shape - its fruits are fatter than they are long.)
Cutting-grown plants of R. rosifolius could be useful bush tucker plants as well, provided they are taken from plants known to have large and plentiful fruits.
Rose-leafed raspberries are usually seen on rainforest margins, where they fill the understory with dense, bushy bramble that attracts and shelters birds and their nests.
The delicate flowers are particularly beautiful.

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