Herb: Thimbleberry

Latin name: Rubus odoratus

Family: Rosaceae (Rose Family)

Medicinal use of Thimbleberry:

The leaves are highly astringent. They are used in the treatment of dysentery and diarrhoea. The leaves have been used as a wash for old and foul sores, boils etc. A decoction or infusion of the branches has been used to settle the stomach. A decoction of the leaves and stems has been used to treat kidney complaints. The root is astringent. A decoction of the root or the root bark has been used as a treatment for diarrhoea and colds. The root has been used in the treatment of toothaches. The berries have been used as a diuretic.

Description of the plant:


2.5 m
(8 1/4 foot)

June to


Habitat of the herb:

Moist thickets and woodland borders.

Edible parts of Thimbleberry:

Fruit - raw or cooked. Somewhat tart and dry, it is usually cooked and used in pies, jellies, preserves etc. The fruit can be dried for later use. This species rarely fruits well in Britain, probably due to our cooler summers.

Other uses of the herb:

A purple to dull blue dye is obtained from the fruit. Plants are very vigorous and can be grown as a tall ground cover for large areas.

Propagation of Thimbleberry:

Seed - requires stratification, is best sown in early autumn in a cold frame. Sow stored seed as early as possible in the year in a cold frame and stratify for a month at 3C if sowing later than February. Prick out the seedlings when they are large enough to handle and grow on in a cold frame. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring of the following year. Tip layering in July. Plant out in autumn. Division in early spring.

Cultivation of the herb:

Moist thickets and woodland borders.

Known hazards of Rubus odoratus:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.