90828Of all the aggressively invasive exotic species on the West Coast, Himalayan blackberry, Rubus armeniacus, could be the nastiest! It seems to be impossible to kill. It forms dense thickets of wickedly thorny canes that develop roots where they touch the ground. Even if canes are cut to the ground, and the roots are pulled out, new plants regenerate quickly from remaining bits of roots.

Individual canes can grow more than twenty feet long in their first year! They may lay on the ground to creep under a thicket, or arch up and over other plants that are fifteen feet tall. These canes develop blooming and fruiting branches in their second year. By their third year, they are replaced by new canes. The palmately compound leaves are smaller for the fruiting second year canes.

Trusses of white or very pale pink flowers bloom late in spring. Dark purplish black berries that started ripening a few weeks ago are now being depleted. Some experts believe that Himalayan blackberries are bigger and sweeter than the fruit of most garden varieties. However, berries are only bigger among well cultivated canes; and keeping canes contained and pruned is not easy.

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8 thoughts on “Himalayan Blackberry

  1. I’m not sure whether our wild blackberries are the same kind as these. We have a lot of them. They seem variable for flavour – some are lusciously sweet, others stay sour even when they look fully ripe.

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    1. The variability sounds accurate. Otherwise, I can not compare them to the natives there because I do not know what the natives are like. Himalayan blackberry is very voracious and VERY thorny.

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    1. It is evergreen. Canes grow vigorously through the year, and then drop a few leaves in spring as new branches grow from the axils or the year old canes, and new canes emerge from the roots. The die and defoliate in their third year.

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      1. Pity about not being deciduous, with R fruticosus I’ve had really good results with metsulphuron in fall when the leaves are about to turn, they take chemical in as they withdraw the pigments and nutrients, and I think it also helps the kill as they lose all those nutrients too.

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      2. We use no herbicides here yet. I have no problem doing so, but will not use them in riparian situations. With two creeks, two streams and a few arroyos flowing through here, there is not much area that is not riparian in one way or another.

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  2. When we were in British Columbia there were thick tangles of Himalayan Blackberry by the roadsides. We saw people walking along with buckets full of berries. We ate some – they were tasty, but it was scary how they created impenetrable thickets.

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