Common Blackberry, Allegheny blackberry
Description: deciduous shrub
Place of origin: eastern North America
Urban habitat: commonly found in parks, vacant lots, waste dumps, meadows, fields, woodland edges, dry sunny slopes; tolerates variety of soil conditions.
Ecological function: food and habitat for wildlife; erosion control on slopes.
History: Rubus allegheniensis bears fruit that is loved by many animals including humans which allows the plant to spread its seed widely. Other parts of the plant have been used for medicinal purposes throughout history. Various Native American tribes used its leaves and roots to treat diarrhea, hemorrhoids, colds, coughs, stomachache, eye problems, headaches, rheumatism, tuberculosis, venereal disease, urinary infections, as a stimulant and as a preventative against miscarriage. The Iriquois also used the roots for ceremonial purposes. Its fruit has been eaten raw, cooked, as juice, and dried. The young shoots are consumed raw in salads. A purple/blue dye can be obtained from the fruit.