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Thimbleberry - Rubus parviflorus

Thimbleberry - Rubus parviflorus

Rubus parviflorus, or Thimbleberry, is a perennial shrub native to the Upper Peninsula and parts of lower Michigan. It is normally 3 feet in height in the U.P., but may reach 6 feet. This plant tends to spread densely by rhizome, which is great from a food production standpoint. White flowers appear in early summer, followed by edible red berries. Berries are similar to raspberries, but tend to be shorter, wider, softer, and more tart (excellent jam). Birds and mammals also like the fruit. Leaves and bark can also be used for various purposes. Although a member of the rose family, Thimbleberries do not have thorns or pickers.


They prefer part sun and medium soil, but Thimbleberry will do full sun to full shade (full shade may affect fruit set), moist to dry, and loam, sand, clay, or rocky soil. Habitats include open woods, thickets, stream banks, moist areas, meadows, rocky nooks, sand dunes, interdunal areas, roadsides, and sandy areas. Customers report that this plant can take on invasive Goutweed/Bishop's Weed/Eastside Weed.


Best for naturalizing into large patches. The rhizomes can help prevent erosion on slopes and stream banks. Use for food production, bird gardens, wildlife hedges, and habitat creation. The Rubus family hosts some great moths, including the Wavy-lined Emerald and a couple of types of Sphinx moths: White-banded and the bee-mimicking Yellow-banded (I could not confirm if the Yellow-banded was in the U.P., but it occurs both east and west of us, and it makes sense that it would follow the habitat of Thimbleberry across the northern US). Flowers are, of course, popular with pollinators.


We are just starting to grow this shrub for production and quantities are very limited. Ours are grown from U.P. seed, although we may offer divisions in the future to bring down the time it takes to bring them to market size. Even if we offer divisions, we will continue to collect berries and grow them from seed to make sure we have genetic diversity in our product.

  • Product added April 2024.

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