Old Dominion University
A to Z Index  |  Directories

Plant Site

Bible Plants


Rubus sp. Kishon River, Israel. Rosaceae

For every tree is known by its own fruit, for figs are not gathered from thorns, nor grapes vintaged from a bramble. The good man, out of the good treasure of his heart, brings forth good; and the wicked man out of the wicked, brings forth what is wicked: for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. Luke 6:44-45.

One of the first things an observer of nature would notice in the Middle East are the large number of armed plants: thorns, briers, and brambles are common. Scripture often does not distinguish among these so this verse is helpful in differentiating thorns and brambles although we cannot be certain of the exact identity of any of these. Most likely the plant we are considering in Luke 6:44-45 is the true bramble, a relative of the garden raspberry. Raspberries are in the genus Rubus of the Rose family.

Bramble occurs in abundance in the Middle East. Flowers are white and fragrant. The arching stems are armed with sharp, strong prickles. The fruit is edible but seldom collected perhaps because bramble grows in dense, painful thickets.

A curse on Edom, recorded in Isaiah 34:13 also refers to brambles: " Thorns will overrun her citadels, nettles and brambles her strongholds. She will become a haunt for jackals, a home for owls."

 Rubus sp. Prickles on stem.Rosaceae Rubus sp. Detail of leaf and prickles. Rosaceae