Content Detail

Purple-flowering raspberry is a large-leaved, shrub with rose-purple flowers and red clusters of fruit. It is a suckering plant that can form large colonies. It is a good plant for natural areas or wildflower gardens. This species is native to the Chicago Region according to Swink and Wilhelm’s Plants of the Chicago Region, with updates made according to current research.

  • Family (English) Rose
  • Family (botanic) Rosaceae
  • Tree or plant type Shrub
  • Foliage Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
  • Native locale Chicago area, Illinois, North America
  • Size range Small shrub (3-5 feet), Medium shrub (5-8 feet)
  • Light exposure Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily), Partial sun / shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
  • Hardiness zones Zone 4, Zone 5 (Northern Illinois), Zone 6 (City of Chicago)
  • Soil preference Acid soil, Alkaline soil, Dry soil, Moist, well-drained soil
  • Tolerances Alkaline soil, clay soil, Dry sites, Occasional drought, Occasional flooding
  • Season of interest early summer, midsummer, late summer
  • Flower color and fragrance Fragrant, Pink, Purple
  • Shape or form Arching, Mounded, Thicket-forming
  • Growth rate Fast

Size & Form:

This is a fast-growing, erect shrub reaching 3 to 6 feet high and 6 to10 feet wide, forming large colonies. It is shorter and more upright than other raspberries.

Native geographic location and habitat: 

Native to Illinois and the midwestern and eastern United States. It is found in shaded woods, moist ravines, and on rocky, gravelly, wooded slopes. C-Value: 5.  

Attracts birds, pollinators, or wildlife:

Many song birds and small mammals eat the fruit.

Bark color and texture: 

The slender stems are yellow-brown with exfoliating bark and small hairs.  Older twigs exfoliate the outer bark to reveal smooth inner bark.

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture: 

The alternate leaves have three to five lobes and have a maple-like appearance. They are medium green with a slightly hairy surface and turn a pale yellow color in fall.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size: 

This shrub has rose-lavender, five-petaled clusters of flowers. The sepals are covered with glandular hairs.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions: 

Fruit is an aggregate of tiny, purplish-red drupes and resembles a fuzzy raspberry. Fruits ripen in mid-to-late summer.

Plant care:

Purple-flowering raspberry grows best in full sun to part shade with moist, slightly acidic soils. It is tolerant of gravelly, sandy, or deep loamy soil. Prune out the oldest canes to the ground to keep up the vigor and help rejuvenate the plant.

List of pests, diseases, and tolerances:  

Japanese beetles, powdery mildew, and canker diseases are all common problems.


Your support is vital to the Arboretum, where the power of trees makes a positive impact on people’s lives.

Make a gift