In a Nutshell:
* Rubus parviflorus is native to western North America from Alaska south as far as California, New Mexico, Chihuahua, and San Luis Potosí. Its range extends east to the Rocky Mountains and discontinuously to the Great Lakes Region. It grows from sea level in the north, up to elevations of 3,000 m (10,000 ft) in the south.
* Rubus parviflorus typically grows along roadsides, railroad tracks, and in forest clearings, commonly appearing as an early part of the ecological succession in clear cut and forest fire areas.
* Rubus parviflorus is a dense shrub up to 2.5 meters (8.2 ft) tall with canes no more than 1.5 centimeters (0.59 in) in diameter, often growing in large clumps which spread through the plant's underground rhizome. Unlike many other members of the genus, it has no prickles. more...
* Thimbleberry fruits are smaller, flatter, and softer than raspberries, and have many small seeds. Because the fruit is so soft, it does not pack or ship well, so thimbleberries are rarely cultivated commercially.
* However, the wild thimbleberries can be eaten raw or dried and can be made into a jam which is sold as a local delicacy in some parts of their range, notably in the Keweenaw Peninsula of Upper Michigan. Thimbleberry jam is made by combining equal volumes of berries and sugar and boiling the mixture for two minutes before packing it into jars.
* The flowers support pollinators, including of special value to Native bees, honeybees, and bumblebees. The fruit is attractive to birds. It is the larval host and a nectar source for the yellow-banded sphinx butterfly.
* Many parts of the Rubus parviflorus plant were used for a great variety of medicinal purposes by Native Americans.Thimbleberries are very high in Vitamin C as well as A and can be used to treat scurvy. more...
* Easily grown in a good well-drained loamy soil in sun or semi-shade. Can be grown in a woodland garden though it is less likely to fruit well in such a position.
* The leaves are antiemetic, astringent, blood tonic and stomachic. An infusion is used internally in the treatment of stomach complaints, diarrhoea and dysentery, anaemia, the spitting up of blood and to treat vomiting. An infusion has been taken by women when their periods are unusually long.
* The young shoots - peeled and eaten cooked or raw. The shoots are harvested as they emerge in the spring, and whilst they are still young and tender. They can be cooked like asparagus. The shoots are rich in vitamin C. more...