Description from Flora of China
Shrubs or subshrubs, deciduous, rarely evergreen or semievergreen, sometimes perennial creeping dwarf herbs. Stems erect, climbing, arching, or prostrate, glabrous or hairy, usually with prickles or bristles, sometimes with glandular hairs, rarely unarmed. Leaves alternate, petiolate, simple, palmately or pinnately compound, divided or undivided, toothed, glabrous or hairy, sometimes with glandular hairs, bristles, or glands; stipules persistent, ± adnate to petiole basally, undivided or occasionally lobed, persistent or caducous, near base of petiole or at junction of stem and petiole, free, usually dissected, occasionally entire. Flowers bisexual, rarely unisexual and plants dioecious, in cymose panicles, racemes, or corymbs, or several in clusters or solitary. Calyx expanded, sometimes with a short, broad tube; sepals persistent, erect or reflexed, (4 or)5(–8). Petals usually 5, rarely more, occasionally absent, white, pink, or red, glabrous or hairy, margin entire, rarely premorse. Stamens numerous, sometimes few, inserted at mouth of hypanthium; filaments filiform; anthers didymous. Carpels many, rarely few, inserted on convex torus, each carpel becoming a drupelet or drupaceous achene; locule 1; ovules 2, only 1 developing, collateral, pendulous; style filiform, subterminal, glabrous or hairy; stigma simple, capitate. Drupelets or drupaceous achenes aggregated on semispherical, conical, or cylindrical torus, forming an aggregate fruit, separating from torus and aggregate hollow, or adnate to torus and falling with torus attached at maturity and aggregate solid; seed pendulous, testa membranous; cotyledons plano-convex.
The Chinese species of Rubus are mostly native and rare in cultivation. The fruit of many species are eaten raw or used for making jam, jelly, juice, candy, various drinks, wine, and vinegar. The dried fruits, seeds, and leaves are used in traditional Chinese medicine and the leaves are also used for tea. Some species are suitable for ornamental use, for hedges, or as ground covers. The stems and roots of some species are a source of tannin.
Rubus umbellifer H. Léveillé (Repert. Spec. Nov. Regni Veg 6: 111. 1908), described from China, is referable to Grewia biloba G. Don var. biflora (Bunge) Handel-Mazzetti (Tiliaceae).
For plants in Taiwan, also see J. Y. Huang & J. M. Hu. 2009.
Revision of Rubus (Rosaceae) in Taiwan. Taiwania 54: 285-310. 2009.
About 700 species: worldwide, particularly abundant in temperate regions of N hemisphere, a few species extending into S hemisphere; 208 species (139 endemic) in China.
(Authors: Lu Lingdi (Lu Ling-ti); David E. Boufford)