Blackberry

Native to Europe, blackberry is a woody perennial shrub with arched, thorny stems up to 7m long. Blackberry infestations form dense thickets that out-compete most other plants and provide food and shelter for pests such as rabbits and foxes. Blackberry plants are found all across Australia except in the Northern Territory.

Blackberry is a restricted invasive plant under the Biosecurity Act 2014.

Scientific name

Rubus anglocandicans, R. fruticosus agg.

Other names

European blackberry

Description

  • Woody perennial shrub with arched, thorny, reddish purple stems up to 7m long.
  • Leaves are dark green on upper side, whitish underneath, with 3-5 separate leaflets.
  • Flowers are white or pink, 2-3cm in diameter, in clusters at ends of branches.
  • Fruit is 1-3cm in diameter, changes colour from green to red to black as it ripens.
  • Fruit is succulent and edible, consisting of numerous fleshy segments each containing 1 seed.
  • Seeds are light to dark brown, oval, 2-3mm long.

Habitat

  • Prefers temperate climate.

Distribution in Queensland

  • Found in and around Stanthorpe, Warwick, Killarney, Toowoomba and Blackall Range.

Life cycle

  • Seeds germinate in spring.
  • Flowers November-January.
  • Fruit appears January-March.

Impacts

Environmental

  • Invades native bushland, disturbed areas, banks of watercourses, and roadsides.
  • Forms dense canopy that out-competes most plants.
  • Provides food and shelter for rabbits and foxes.

Economic

  • Affects pasture and forestry.

Social

  • Dead material causes fire hazards.

How it is spread

  • Spread by birds and animals on fur and through faeces.
  • Also spread by water along gullies, creeks and rivers, and by movement of soil.
  • Stems or canes can send out roots where they touch ground, forming daughter plants.
  • Lateral roots can produce suckers, and new plants can grow from root or cane cuttings.

Control

Physical control

  • Maintain dense cover or pasture to prevent blackberry seedlings from establishing.
  • For isolated plants, physically remove crown and root system.

Mechanical control

  • Slash, cultivate and burn where appropriate, then plant competitive pastures or native vegetation.

Herbicide control

  • Follow mechanical control with herbicide application. Using mechanical control initially will reduce herbicide use and improve herbicide uptake.

See the Blackberry fact sheet (PDF, 2.1MB) for herbicide control and application rates.

Biological control

  • A rust fungus, Phragmidium violaceum, has been released and can attack some blackberry cultivars.
  • The fungus will not kill the weed, but will cause defoliation, reducing the plant's spread. Rust alone cannot be relied on for adequate control.

Legal requirements

  • Blackberry is a restricted invasive plant under the Biosecurity Act 2014.
  • It must not be given away, sold, or released into the environment without a permit.
  • The Act requires everyone to take all reasonable and practical steps to minimise the risks associated with invasive plants and animals under their control. This is called a general biosecurity obligation (GBO).
  • At a local level, each local government must have a biosecurity plan that covers invasive plants and animals in its area. This plan may include actions to be taken on certain species. Some of these actions may be required under local laws. Contact your local government for more information.

More information

Contact us

Call your local government office, or Biosecurity Queensland on 13 25 23.

Last updated
01 July 2016