Blackberry

NOXIOUS WEED:  Class 4

Rubus fruticosus spp. agg

family: ROSACEAE

Description

  • Semi-deciduous woody shrub from Europe producing long arching thorny canes. Forms huge impenetrable thickets.
  • Leaves are hairy, prickly, divided into 3 or 5 serrated leaflets, dark green on top, pale underneath.
  • Flowers are 5-petalled, resemble a single rose, pink to white, and occur from November to March.
  • Bunches of succulent berries ripen from green to black in late summer and autumn.
  • Native Rubus species are less vigorous and aggressive, do not form extensive thickets, and are found in sheltered moist areas.

Dispersal

Birds and foxes distribute the seed; the plant shoots vigorously from its crown, canes root down to produce new plants, it sends up shoots from its roots, and it regrows from root fragments.

Impact on Bushland

Highly invasive, competes aggressively, rapidly forms thickets with a dense canopy of shade, excludes and replaces native vegetation. Threatens sensitive and fragile ecosystems.

Distribution

Throughout the Blue Mountains.

Alternative Planting

Native Plants
Native Rubus species:
(R. parvifolius, R. hillii)
local Lillypillies (Acmena smithii)

Exotic Plants
Strawberries and Blueberries - but protect fruit from birds.

Control

Wear protective gloves, clothing, and eye protection.
Cut through and paint 'root ball' if >20mm.
Shorten canes, scrape and paint long lengths in summer.
Cut back canes, spray large infestations when regrowth reaches 1m.

Picture of Blackberry stand
Megalong Valley: dense stands of blackberry can prevent access to creeks and waterholes.

Blackberry is a Class 4 Noxious Weed.

Class 4 noxious weeds are plants that pose a threat to primary production, the environment or human health, are widely distributed in an area to which the order applies and are likely to spread in the area or to another area.

Control objective
Minimise the negative impact of those plants on the economy, community or environment of NSW.

Control action
The growth and spread of the plant must be controlled according to the measures specified in a management plan published by the local control authority, and the plant may not be sold, propagated or knowingly distributed.

— NSW Noxious Weeds Act of 1993

More Information

Weed of the Month article about Blackberry.

Printable Fact Sheet: Blackberry ( 359.0kb)

Blackberry takes over bushland
photo: © Barbara Harley

Blackberry flowers resemble those of the single rose
photo: © Barbara Harley

Do not pick wild Blackberry fruit: it may have been sprayed
photo: © Barbara Harley