The beautiful flowers of this plant vie with wild roses (Rosa spp.) for spectacle, and indeed it is often planted as an ornamental. In the wild, it prefers a semi-shaded hillside; these were growing on a hill above the Allegheny River Boulevard near Verona, where they were blooming in late May. The leaves are more or less maple-shaped. The raspberry-like fruit, alas, is no good for eating.
Gray describes the genus and the species:
RÙBUS [Tourn.] L. BRAMBLE. Calyx 6 (3-7)-parted, without bractlets. Petals 5, deciduous. Stamens numerous. Achenes usually many, collected on a spongy or succulent receptacle, becoming small drupes; styles nearly terminal. — Perennial herbs, or somewhat shrubby plants, with white (rarely reddish) flowers, and usually edible fruit. (The Roman name, kindred with ruber, red.)
ANAPLÓBATUS Focke. Unarmed shrubs; leaves simple, 5-6-lobed or angled; flowers large and showy; fruit large, hemispherical, red. Rubacer Rydb.
R. odoràtus L. (PURPLE FLOWERING R.) Shrubby, 1-1.6 m. high; branches, stalks, and calyx bristly with glandular-clammy hairs; leaves 3-5-lobed, the lobes pointed and minutely toothed, the middle one prolonged; peduncles many-flowered; flowers showy (3-6 cm. broad); calyx-lobes tipped with a long narrow appendage; petals rounded, purple rose-color: fruit scarcely edible. — N. S. to Ga., w. to Mich.