I Spy in the Sea to Sky…

I Spy in the Sea to Sky…
I Spy in the Sea to Sky…

LJ. Mehrhoff, bugwood.org

I’m a prickly shrub growing 6 feet tall,

Integrated control is my only downfall,

With berries so sweet you’ll forget I’m a weed,

Infesting wetlands with vigor and speed.

Cutleaf Evergreen Blackberry (Rubus laciniatus) may seem native, growing wild along riverbanks, roads, railroad tracks, and trails. Indeed, these abundant berries (great for pie and jam) are synonymous with summer in British Columbia, where they take over greenbelts and backyards, abandoned lots, urban alleyways, and logged lands. However, Cutleaf Evergreen Blackberry is, in fact, invasive.

The tenacious shrub, which was introduced from Eurasia, claims its new territory along roadsides, riverbanks, and rangelands throughout the Sea to Sky. Spreading vegetatively (by sprouting root buds and root developments) and by seeds alike, this woody invader tends to choke out other plants, prevent the establishment of native trees that require sun for germination, block access to rivers and wetlands for humans and animals, and mask eroding banks. Indeed, with a dense rootball up to 10 m wide and 1 m deep, this resilient weed sucks up nutrients from the surrounding soils, leaving the area barren of native flora.

Cutleaf Evergreen Blackberry can be identified by its dark green leaves, unique in their hairy underside, and five deeply-divided, toothed leaflets. Its white or slightly pink flowers self-pollinate, which produce their famously bright blackberries and aggressively spreading seeds!

As shown on SSISC’s Invasive Plants List, we seek to contain populations in Squamish and eradicate infestations in Whistler and Pemberton. Have you spotted Cutleaf Evergreen Blackberry? Report sightings here.

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