European dewberry – characteristics, cultivation and use

European dewberry flower
European dewberry flower - by Ivar Leidus

The European dewberry is a relative of the blackberry. Its thorns are only small and scratch only, instead of sting. The edible fruits look like those of the blackberry, but a little bluish and waxy, as if a blackberry fruit were covered in a fine powdery mildew. This is not mildew, but a fine layer of wax and completely harmless. The taste is a bit fainter and sourer than the blackberry, for many rather disappointing. The fruits are suitable as a vitamin donor and the leaves are suitable for a healthy tea.

Profile of European dewberry:

Scientific name: Rubus caesius

Plant family: rose family (Rosaceae)

Other names: dewberry

Sowing time / Planting time: Mid-May – June

Flowering period: June – August (sometimes from May to Oktober)

Harvest time: August – September

Useful plant parts: leaves, fruits, roots

Location: sunny to partially shady

Soil quality: nutrient-rich, humus-rich, rather low in lime, better light than heavy

These information are for temperate climate!

Use as a medicinal herb: diabetes, diarrhea, colds, sore throat, gingivitis

Use as aromatic herb: tea, juice, salad

Plant characteristics and classification of European dewberry

Origin and occurrence of European dewberry

Although rare, it is widespread and native to Europe as well as Turkey, the Caucasus, Asia, West Siberia and the Republic of Altai. It occurs in nutrient-rich areas on roadsides or in sparse shrubs. Often it also grows in the gravel of river banks or riparian forests.

Plant order of European dewberry

The dewberry (Rubus caesius) belongs to the rose family (Rosaceae).

Characteristics of the European dewberry


It is a subshrub with low-lying rods that grows between 50 and 150 cm (20 and 60 in) high. The branches are blue pruinated and armed with short thorns.


The alternate threefold leaves are rhomboid to ovate and two- to three-lobed. The leaf margin is irregular and sawn, the leaf blade often hairy.


The flowering period of the European dewberry lasts from June to August, but can extend into October. The flower tufts are white.


In late summer, the black and blue fruits ripen, frosted with a thin layer of white wax.

European dewberry
European dewberry – by TeunSpaans

European dewberry – cultivation and care


The more sun the dewberry gets, the more flowers and fruits it produces. Choose a sunny to a half shady spot in your garden.


The soil should be rich in nutrients and humus, rather lime-poor and better light than heavy. Heavy loamy soils are tolerated, but should be loosened with sand to prevent waterlogging. The soil may like to be slightly damp.


Planting of the dewberry is possible in principle all year round. Experience has shown that you plant the berry bush in mild regions best in the fall, in cold regions in the spring after the Ice Saints. Water the planting site well and apply a layer of mulch to keep moisture in the soil longer.


Watering is obligatory, so that beautiful fruits develop.


For nutrient supply, the plant is given some compost every spring. But you can also add some organic fertilizer for berry bushes from the retailer.


Touch the shoot tips of Rubus caesius the soil, they root. If you want to avoid too much spreading, you have to cut them off. The mulch layer is renewed annually.

The dewberry is self-pollinated. Higher yields are achieved, according to experience, if you plant several shrubs in the garden.


Guide the shoots along horizontal tension wires in the summer. Disturbing branches are removed near the ground. In September, cut the young rods to about 10 cm (4 in) on which axillary side shoots have developed. This is made to cut them back in the late winter to two eyes. The fruits will be formed next year. The harvested shoots are cut close to the ground either directly after harvest or in late winter.


The fruits are in contrast to traditional blackberries easy to pick, because the many fine spines scratch, but do not sting. The taste is not quite as aromatic, but slightly sour.

Diseases and pests

The plant diseases typical of blackberries and raspberries do not stop at the dewberry. Mention should be made of gray mold, blackberry rust and downy mildew. The fruits are occasionally attacked by the blackberry gallmite. You can save the shrub by radically cutting back in late winter.


Rubus caesius is assigned to winter hardiness zone four and thus withstands temperatures down to -34 °C / -30 °F. So the shrub is sufficiently hardy and does not need any winter protection.

Use of the European dewberry

European dewberry in the kitchen

The dewberry can be used like the blackberry.

European dewberries can be used for a variety of desserts. They are also processed into jam, mus, juice or jelly, and they are also good for freezing.

Young, spiny-free leaves are mixed in the salad or cooked as a vegetable. Some raw foodists use blackberry leaves as vitamin-rich, fresh food for the winter. The prickly midrib is removed and the leaves are added to green smoothies.

European dewberry as a medicinal herb

For healing purposes both dewberry leaves and the berries rich in minerals and vitamins are used.

Preparation of a dewberry tea

With respiratory infections, diarrhea and diabetes, dewberry tea can help.

Time needed: 10 minutes

This is how you prepare a dewberry tea by yourself

  1. put one to two teaspoons of dewberry leaves in a tea strainer in a cup

  2. dash with boiling water

  3. let it draw for 10minutes

  4. drink in small sips

From this tea you drink one to three cups daily

Preparation of a dewberry tincture

To make a dewberry tincture yourself, douse dewberry leaves in a screw-top jar with double grain or spirit until all parts of the plant are covered, and allow the mixture to drain for 2 to 6 weeks.

Then strain and fill in a dark bottle. This tincture is taken one to three times a day 10-50 drops. If the tincture is too concentrated, you can dilute it with water. Sometimes a tincture is made from the fruits.

Preparation of a dewberry juice

Dewberry juice is drunk to promote blood formation, to strengthen the body’s defenses and in case of a cold and sore throat. You can easily make this yourself in a juicer. To preserve the juice is boiled and bottled in well cleaned glasses or bottles.

If you do not have a juicer, you can also boil the berries and squeeze through a gauze or cloth to get the salutary juice.

European dewberry can be used for these ailments and diseases

  • blemishes
  • colds
  • cystitis
  • diabetes
  • diarrhea
  • dropsy
  • eczema
  • fever
  • gastric and intestinal catarrh
  • gingivitis
  • heartburn
  • intestinal inflammation
  • leukorrhea
  • rashes
  • sore throat
  • stomatitis
  • tonsillitis
  • weave
  • wounds

Medicinal properties

  • astringent
  • blood purifier
  • diuretic
  • expectorant
  • hemostatic
  • toning

Side effects

Not known


Ask your doctor or pharmacist. Visiting this page can not replace the visit to the doctor. For serious or unclear complaints, consult your doctor.

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