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Rubus sumatranus Miq.
by Mrs. Nor Ezzawanis Abdullah Thani
Newsletter
Rubus sumatranus Miq.
by Mrs. Nor Ezzawanis Abdullah Thani

Raspberry (Rubus idaeus) is well-known for its edible and delicious fruit. It belongs to the genus Rubus in the large family Rosaceae. This genus also includes several other well-known and tasty fruits such as blackberry, boysenberry, dewberry and loganberry.

In Peninsular Malaysia, Rubus is represented by about 6 species and 4 varieties that occur from the lowlands up to montane areas. Rubus sumatranus is one of these. It occurs in open places from about 750 m altitude but is more often collected in montane forest at about 1400 to 1500 m altitude.

The specific epithet ‘sumatranus’ is derived from the place where the type specimen was collected (Teijsmann s.n., Sumatra). It is distributed from NE India, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, S China, Taiwan and Japan, Sumatra, Peninsular Malaysia and Java.

Rubus sumatranus is an erect or scrambling shrub to 2 m tall. The mid-green stems are densely covered with reddish brown glandular hairs, while curved prickles are sparsely distributed along the stems. The leaves are imparipinnate with 2–3 opposite pairs of leaflets. The leaflets are oblong to ovate, with a cuneate to rounded base, acuminate apex, serrate margins with a reddish brown to purplish red point at the tip of each serration, and has scattered, white hairs on the upper surface of the lamina. Similar hairs are also found on the lower surface of the midrib with dense, reddish brown glandular hairs and scattered triangular, recurved prickles. The 6–12 pairs of secondary veins sometimes fork near the margin, while the tertiary veins are scalariform-reticulate. The inflorescences are axillary and up to 13 cm long. The flowers are bisexual with the hypanthium up to 5 mm across. There are five triangular sepals and five obovate, white petals. The aggregate fruits are up to 1.5 × 0.8 cm when fresh, ellipsoid and dark green when young but ripen ellipsoid to almost globose and orangish-red. They are tasteless although edible.

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