Weed of the Week: Himalayan Blackberry
For many folks, blackberries involve mouth-watering anticipation for that warm and golden slice of pie, while for others; it may be a delightful sunny afternoon picking handfuls. But for residents in the Lower Mainland, who experience himalayan blackberry (Rubus discolor) thickets thriving on their property, it is considered an unwelcome invader.
Native to Eurasia, the himalayan blackberry was introduced to Canada in the mid 1880’s. Two blackberry species which are native to Canada are the trailing blackberry and the salmon berry. However, these are much slighter in comparison to their swift spreading competitor.
Himalayan blackberry grows aggressively, causing harmful environmental and economic impacts. The plant out-competes native vegetation and spreads quickly, claiming large areas. Himalayan blackberry is attracted to watercourses and creates sites of erosion and flood risk by overthrowing deep-rooted plants. The weed’s broad thickets extend up to three meters high, restricting access to water and land, diminishing property value, and increasing the risk of fire. This weed, which has claimed its home in pastures, along roadsides, and water bodies, is also a welcome habitat to pests.
Delicate five petal flowers adorn thickets, while sharp prickles protrude from the plant’s stalks. A single berry can contain up to 80 seeds that can spread by mammals, birds, and water. Stem fragmentation and seedlings are also means of rejuvenation.
Management and control of the himalayan blackberry involves consistent effort for many subsequent years in order to exhaust root reserves. Mechanical and chemical methods are both effective control options.
You can help protect and preserve BC’s biodiversity by not introducing invasive plants such as the himalayan blackberry to your property. You can also take steps to manage invasive plants in you region.
To find out more about himalayan blackberry, click here.