FlowersRoyal purple or bluish pink, showy, fragrant, 1 to 2 in. broad, loosely clustered at top of stem. Calyx sticky-hairy, deeply 5-parted, with long pointed tips corolla of 5 rounded petals ; stamens and pistils very numerous. Stem: 3 to 5 ft. high, erect, branched, shrubby, bristly, not prickly. Leaves: Alternate, petioled, 3 to 5 lobed, middle lobe largest, and all pointed ; saw-edged lower leaves immense. Fruit: A depressed red berry, scarcely edible.
Preferred HabitatRocky woods, dells, shady roadsides.
DistributionNorthern Canada south to Georgia, westward to Michigan and Tennessee.
To be an unappreciated, unloved relative of the exquisite wild rose, with which this flower is so often likened, must be a similar misfortune to being the untalented son of a great man, or the unhappy author of a successful first book never equalled in later attempts. But where the bright blossoms of the Virginia raspberry burst forth above the roadside tangle and shady woodland dells, even those who despise magenta see beauty in them where abundant green tones all discordant notes into harmony. Purple, as we of to-day understand the color, the flower is not ; but rather the purple of ancient Orientals. On cool, cloudy days the petals are a deep, clear purplish rose, that soon fades and dulls with age, or changes into pale, bluish pink when the sun is hot.
Many yellow stamens help conceal the nectar secreted in a narrow ring between the filaments and the base of the receptacle. Bumblebees, the principal and most efficient visitors, which can reach sweets more readily than most insects, although numerous others help to self-fertilize the flower, bring to the mature stigmas of a newly opened blossom pollen carried on their under sides from the anthers of a flower a day or two older. When the inner row of anthers shed their pollen, some doubtless falls on the stigmas below them, and so spontaneous self-fertilization may occur. Fruit sets quickly; nevertheless the shrub keeps on flowering nearly all summer. Children often fold the lower leaves, which sometimes measure a foot across, to make drinking-cups.