Arctic Blackberry – Rubus arcticus

Alaska Wildflowers | Pink

Flowers of arctic blackberry, also known as arctic rasberry or nagoonberry

Arctic Blackberry

Rubus arcticus

Common Names

arctic blackberry
arctic bramble
arctic rasberry
dwarf rasberry



Subspecies (Direct Children)

Rubus arcticus ssp. acaulis
Rubus arcticus ssp. arcticus
Rubus arcticus ssp. stellatus

Genus: Rubus
Family: Rosaceae
Order: Rosales
Full Classification



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For information only (typically historical) – I take no responsibility for adverse effects from the use of any plant.

Arctic blackberry (often commonly called arctic rasberry or nagoonberry) produces an edible fruit that can be eaten raw or cooked. The berries are frequently made into a jam or juice, or made into wine or liqueur. It is usually stored frozen. The leaves are sometimes used to make a tea. There are no known medicinal uses, although the Shuswap of British Columbia have used the leaves as treatment for diarrhea.

Identification and Information

Image Credit: Carl Axel Magnus LindmanWork in Public Domain – Wiki Commons

Arctic blackberry is a perennial herb or subshrub belonging to the rose family that grows 5-30 cm (2-12 inches) in height from an erect stem that is slightly hairy. The stems are typically woody at the base. The roots are highly branched, spreading shallowly (3-5 cm) and horizontally over an area that can cover several meters. Smaller feeder roots can grow to greater depths.

The leaves are deciduous, alternate, ternate (compound with 3 leaflets). The leaflets are usually coarsely toothed (dentate, serrate, or doubly serrate). Leaves are sparsely hairy on the top, but usually smooth underneath.

Each stem is single-flowered with veined pink or magenta to slightly purple petals and an equal number of narrow, triangular sepals. The sepals are shorter than the petals. The edges of the petals commonly curl. The pedicels can be glabrous or sparsely hairy. In the center of the flower is a mostly closed column of tightly spaced erect stamens the same with pistils interior. The stamens are shorter, but the same color as the petals.

The fruits of Rubus arcticus are druplets of red to dark purple round clusters looking similar to a small rasberry.

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Distribution and Habitat

Arctic blackberry (Rubus arcticus) has a circumpolar distribution. In North America it is found in Alaska, all of Canada, and a few northern states in the US. It is also found across Eurasia.

Arctic blackberry is most often found near forested areas or thickets and in moist soil or near marshes.


RankScientific Name (Common Name)
KingdomPlantae (plantes, Planta, Vegetal, plants)
SubkingdomViridiplantae (green plants) 
InfrakingdomStreptophyta (land plants) 
DivisionTracheophyta (vascular plants, tracheophytes) 
SubdivisionSpermatophytina (spermatophytes, seed plants, phanérogames) 
FamilyRosaceae (roses) 
GenusRubus (framboises, ronces, brambles, blackberry) 
SpeciesRubus arcticus (arctic blackberry) 

References and Further Reading


Field Guide to Alaskan Wildflowers, Pratt, Verna E. pg 16 (nagoonberry)

Classification and Taxonomy

Rubus arcticus  L. Taxonomic Serial No.: 24849, ITIS Database

Rubus arcticus L. arctic raspberry, USDA Database


Rubus arcticus L., Native American Ethnobotany Database

Rubus arcticus – L., Plants for a Future

Description and Information

Rubus arcticus L. ssp. acaulis (Michaux) Focke (dwarf raspberry): A Technical Conservation Assessment, Juanita A. R. Ladyman, Prepared for the USDA Forest Service

Rubus arcticus (Arctic Raspberry), Minnesota Wildflowers

2. Rubus arcticus Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 1: 494. 1753. Arctic raspberry, Flora of North America

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