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Blackberry

Blackberry flowers

Blackberry fruits

Rubus vestitus

Blackberry infestation

Sweet briar flower

Sweet briar fruits

Small-leafed bramble

Native raspberry

Molucca bramble

Rubus nebulosus

   


family

Rosaceae

status

Blackberry (Rubus fruticosus species aggregate) is listed as noxious in Class 4 in all LCAs of the Southern Tablelands and South East Region. It  cannot be propagated or sold anywhere in the state.

Description

Deciduous thorny shrub. Blackberry forms spreading clumps to 3m high. The leaves are generally composed of five toothed leaflets, with a whitish underside. Blackberry flowers are white, 2-3cm across and similar to a small open rose flower. The fruits are large, succulent, red initially ripening to black.

Preferred habitat

Blackberry does best in cool moist sites such as gullies, but in the relatively humid climate of the south-east it can spread over large areas, particularly on sheltered south-facing slopes.

Dispersal

Birds, foxes. Blackberry also roots at the branch tips where these touch the ground, a habit known as layering. Root suckers may arise where plants are dug out but the whole root system is not removed.

Look-alikes

There are several species and varieties of blackberry, all similar in appearance and all weeds. Rubus vestitus is sometimes seen on the tablelands, and is distinguished by having pale pink flowers.

Sweet briar (Rosa rubiginosa) is a similar thorny shrub to about 2 metres high, with long arching canes, larger pink flowers and red or orange leathery hips (the fruits).

The native small-leaved bramble (Rubus parvifolius) is a small trailing plant with pink flowers and small red fruits which grows in woodland and forest and among rocks in native grassland. It is common both on the coast and the tablelands. Three additional native brambles occur on the coast, native raspberry (Rubus rosifolius), Molucca bramble (Rubus moluccanus var triloba or R. hillii as it was previously known) and the robust climber Rubus nebulosus, which is found north from Batemans Bay, usually in wet forest or on rainforest edges. Native raspberry has erect stems,white flowers and bright red but dry and gritty fruits.  It is common in gullies.  Molucca bramble has pink flowers and the underside of the leaflets covered in buff hairs.

Control

Spray blackberry with a woody weed specific herbicide. Goats provide very good control. Slashing can keep blackberry from forming tall clumps but never gets rid of the plant. Plants can be dug out, but will re-sprout if any roots are left behind. An introduced fungus, blackberry rust, was released in the 1980s. It can become common in wet summers, and reduces the vigour of plants, particularly in humid coastal areas. However, the rust variety found on the tablelands is the least effective for control.