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Himalayan Blackberry

Species
Rubus armeniacus

Himalayan blackberry is thicket-forming shrub or scandent climber from western Asia that has escaped cultivation and naturalized widely in temperate regions. The plant is valued for its prolifically produced, delectable fruit and for its security potential along property boundaries, but it is an aggressive invasive. Plants can grow up to 5 m tall, with canes up to 12 m long that root wherever they touch the ground.

How does it spread? 
Himalayan blackberry reproduces by seed, as well as vegetatively by roots and stem fragments. Shoots can also grow from meter-deep horizontal roots  that can grow to over 10m in length. Thickets can produce thousands of seeds/m2 that can remain viable in the soil for several years. Seed is most often spread by birds and mammals but also by intentional plantings.

Where would I find it? 
Blackberry colonies abound on disturbed sites, in pastures, and along roadsides, stream banks, fresh-water wetland margins, forest edges, and in wooded ravines over much of southwestern and coastal BC.

What problems does it cause? 
Himalayan blackberry out-competes native vegetation primarily by smothering. Thickets are mostly impenetrable, limiting the movement of wildlife to critical forage, water and habitat. Established stands increase the potential for flooding and erosion by shading out ground-level plants and leaving soil unprotected, reduce sight lines along right-of-ways, overwhelm channels and stream banks, and provide ideal habitat for feral and/or invasive species such as domestic rabbits, starlings and rats.

Additional Recommendations

  • Black Raspberry (Rubus occidentalis) BC native (z5)
  • Salmonberry (Rubus spectabilis) BC native (z3)
  • Highbush Blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum) (z4)
  • Rocky Mountain Thimbleberry (Rubus deliciousus) BC native (z5)

A provincial initiative coordinated by ISCBC

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