Rubus parvus


Rubus: From the Latin meaning bramble
parvus: small

Common Name(s)

Creeping lawyer

Current Conservation Status

2012 - Not Threatened

Conservation status of New Zealand indigenous vascular plants, 2012
The conservation status of all known New Zealand vascular plant taxa at the rank of species and below were reassessed in 2012 using the New Zealand Threat Classification System (NZTCS). This report includes a statistical summary and brief notes on changes since 2009 and replaces all previous NZTCS lists for vascular plants. Authors: Peter J. de Lange, Jeremy R. Rolfe, Paul D. Champion, Shannel P. Courtney, Peter B. Heenan, John W. Barkla, Ewen K. Cameron, David A. Norton and Rodney A. Hitchmough. File size: 792KB

Previous Conservation Status

2009 - Not Threatened
2004 - Not Threatened


Rubus parvus Buchanan



Brief Description

Scrambling, much-branched, creeping shrub. Young stems, leaf petioles and the veins of the leaf undersides armed with prickles. Leaves mostly solitary, narrow, margins deeply toothed, dark bronze-green to red-green above. Flowers white, usually solitary, occasional in few-flowered sprays. Fruit a large, red berry.

Flora Category

Vascular - Native

NVS Species Code


The National Vegetation Survey (NVS) Databank is a physical archive and electronic databank containing records of over 94,000 vegetation survey plots - including data from over 19,000 permanent plots. NVS maintains a standard set of species code abbreviations that correspond to standard scientific plant names from the Ngä Tipu o Aotearoa - New Zealand Plants database.

Structural Class

Dicotyledonous Trees & Shrubs


Endemic. South Island only.


Montane to alpine - often riparian, usually in damp, freely draining, open sites growing with other low shrubs and herbs.


Scrambling, much-branched,shrub, stems prostrate, up to 1 m long, rooting at nodes, terete, glabrous, unarmed when mature otherwise young stems reddish, densely to sparsely armed with small, pale red, orange-red to yellow prickles. Stipules minute, caducous, narrow linear-acute. Leaves on petioles 10-20 mm long, lamina 25-90 × 5-20 mm, unifoliolate, coriaceous, adaxially dark bronze-green to red-green, abaxially paler, linear to linear-oblong or narrow-lanceolate, acute, shallowly cordate at base (rarely with small lobes present), sharply serrate-dentate on margins; midrib sparingly prickly. Flowers in leaf-axils, solitary or borne in few-flowered panicles, peduncle up to 10 mm long, sepals 5-8 mm long, ovate, acuminate, pubescent. Petals 5, up to 10 mm long, white, ovate to broad-ovate, obtuse. Male flowers with numerous stamens, ovary rudimentary or absent. Female flowers bearing numerous carpels. Fruits 10-25 mm long, drupletes numerous, red. Endocarp 'seed' 2.0-3.1 mm long, surfaces conspicuously reticulate.

Similar Taxa

Distinguished from introduced (blackberries, raspberries wineberries etc) and indigenous Rubus by the scrambling / creeping growth habit, smaller, usually solitary flowers, and single rather than compound, lanceolate, deeply serrated glabrescent leaves.


November - January

Flower Colours



January - April

Propagation Technique

Very easily grown from rooted pieces. An attractive scrambling plant for rockeries and an excellent ground cover in well-lighted situations. Prefers a damp, well-drained soil. The large fruits are perhaps the most palatable of the New Zealand indigenous Rubus. In cultivation the most commonly grown R. parvus is actually the sterile hybrid R. xbarkeri (possibly R. cissoides x R. parvus) which has lighter green (bronize-green) mostly ternate leaves.


Not Threatened

Chromosome No.

2n = 28

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family


Taxonomic notes

The sterile hybrid R. xbarkeri is often sold as this species, it can be distinguished by its trifoliolate leaves and lack of flowers. Its exact parentage remains unclear.


Fact Sheet prepared for NZPCN by P.J. de Lange 18 October 2016. Description based on Allan (1961), Webb et al. (1988) and Webb & Simpson (2001)

References and further reading

Allan, H.H. 1961: Flora of New Zealand. Vol. I, Wellington, Government Printer.

Webb CJ, Sykes WR, Garnock-Jones PJ 1988: Flora of New Zealand. Vol. IV. Botany Division, DSIR, Christchurch.

Webb, C.J.; Simpson, M.J.A. 2001: Seeds of New Zealand Gymnosperms and Dicotyledons. Christchurch, Manuka Press.

This page last updated on 18 Oct 2016