Himalayan Blackberry

Himalayan Blackberry

Rubus discolor

Rubus-armeniacus

Status in Squamish:

STRATEGIC-CONTROL

Status in Whistler:

ERADICATE

Status in Pemberton:

ERADICATE
ID Characteristics

General: Himalayan Blackberry is a mostly biennial bramble, mostly recognizable by its prickly stems and edible black berries.

Flowers: Blackberry flowers are white to pinkish, and consist of 5 stalked petals. They are approximately 2.5cm in diameter, and flowers are arranged in clusters of 5 to 20. The flower stalks are woolly and prickly.

Stem: Canes are thick with sharp, stiff prickles that can be green or red. Stems are strongly angled and furrowed, with curved prickles 6-10mm long.

Leaves: Leaflets are egg-shaped leaflets with sharp and pointy tips; they are generally grouped into clusters of 5 on the first year canes, and groups of 3 on the flowering, second-year canes. Leaves are grey and woolly on the underside.

Roots: Himalayan Blackberry has an extensive root system of inter-connected roots that can exceed 10m in length and 1m in depth.

Fruit: Himalayan Blackberry plants produce black, shiny, hairless, edible berries. Unripe berries are green.

Similar Species

Native:

Black Raspberry (Rubus leucodermis) is sometimes confused with Himalayan Blackberry. However, it is native to BC and can be recognized by the white residue on its stems (canes).

Source: Wikipedia

Report

Please report any sighting of Himalayan Blackberry by clicking here.

Habitat and Origin

Himalayan Blackberry is originally native to Western Europe and Africa, but it was introduced to North America most likely in 1885 for agricultural purposes.

Himalayan Blackberry can be found at low elevations in clearings, disturbed sites, roadside stream banks, wastelands, pastures, forest plantations, and fence lines. It can colonize a variety of disturbed sites and live in a range of conditions.

Current Distribution

Propagation & Vectors of Spread

Himalayan Blackberry reproduces by seed, but it can also spread by rooting from stem cuttings, root pieces, root crowns, or from cane tips (or nodes along the canes) touching the ground. Birds and mammals that eat the fruit disperse the seeds when they move to new locations.

Ecological and Economic Impacts

Ecological: 

  • Outcompetes native plants
  • Reduces flora diversity through shading
  • Can hinder the growth of shade-tolerant tree species
  • Infests stream channels and banks
  • Restricts the access of wildlife to water bodies
  • Degrades pastures
  • Increases the likelihood of erosion along banks.

Economic:

  • Reduces land value
  • Limits recreational access to water bodies
  • Reduces sight lines along infrastructure.
What Can I Do?

Himalayan Blackberry is found throughout the Sea to Sky Region, so CONTROL and ERADICATION are key.

 

Learn to identify Himalayan Blackberry: use the images presented in this profile page to learn how to identify it.

What to do if you spot it: You can report any Himalayan Blackberry sighting by clicking here.

 

DO:

  • Regularly monitor properties (since it is identifiable throughout the year) and remove Himalayan Blackberry if you spot it
  • Ensure soil, gravel, and fill material is uncontaminated before transport
  • Remove plant material from any equipment, vehicles or clothing used in loading, parking or storage areas and wash equipment and vehicles at designated cleaning sites before leaving infested areas
  • Minimize soil disturbances (e.g., using grazing plants that prevent soil exposure from overgrazing), and use seed mixes with dense, early colonization (e.g., alfalfa or barley) to re-vegetate exposed soil and resist invasion.
  • Ensure plant fragments or parts are bagged or covered to prevent spread during transport to designated disposal sites (e.g., landfill)

 

DO NOT:

  • Plant Himalayan Blackberry
  • Unload, park, or store equipment or vehicles in infested areas
  • Place fruit material in the compost

Control

Mechanical

The roots of the plant must be removed by hand or by using an excavator, and the canes must be pulled out of the ground before berries are produced. The biomass of the plant can be reduced by mowing frequently throughout the year. Grazing by goats has proven effective, and chickens can remove the seeds from an area.

Chemical

If recommended, any use of herbicides must be applied by a person holding a valid BC Pesticide Applicator Certificate. Before selecting and applying herbicides, you must review and follow herbicide labels and application rates; municipal, regional, provincial and federal laws and regulations; species-specific treatment recommendations, and site-specific goals and objectives.

Biological

The integration of mechanical control methods with either the chemical treatment of stumps or follow-up herbicide application offers the most success.

References