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A scrambling, suckering plant with fine, prickly stems. The leaves are made up of three or five leaflets, attractively pleated and bright green above, felty white below. The felted greyish flower buds open in October to February. The crinkly, rose-pink petals are curiously arranged as can be seen in the photo. These are bent sharply inwards near the base, pressing closely to the bundle of stamens and stigmas in the middle of the flower. The stems have a fascinating habit of growing towards dark crevices, here the stems may wedge into narrow gaps, swelling and, where possible putting out roots. This will occur if the plant is grown near brickwork or paving.
Often confused with blackberries, but can be easily distinguished by fern-like ('pinnate') arrangement of the leaflets comared with the finger-like arrangement ('palmate') of the Blackberry.
This species, when allowed to spread and layer, provides superb cover for small insectivorous birds and other wildlife.
Locally the species is closely associated with rocky areas. On the Volcanic Plains bioregion, plant it in Escarpment Shrubland and Riparian Shrubland. It prefers a moist microclimate.
This species may be a menace unless confined by wide paths or other barriers. It is quite capable of spreading below fences and will also root from the tips of branches. It does however have charm with it's attractive foliage, which sometimes shows attractive orange and red tones among the fresh green. It is very uncomfortable to weed amongst so I recommend doing excellent weed control in early years. Also, plant it among boulders or logs and establish dense mixtures of low, shade-tolerant groundcovers such as Dichondra repens, Asperula conferta, Scutellaria humilis and Veronica gracilis to exclude weeds. Within a few years it will accumulate layers, generating a dense shade which will limit weed germination.
Rubus parvifolius produces very little seed around Melbourne. It is readily propagated from tip cuttings and root fragments.
As with other Rubus species, it will put out roots at the end of its cane if it touches the ground. Therefore, for small numbers of plants, peg the tips of the canes to the ground.