Himalayan Giant Blackberry - Rubus armeniacus

Alternative names
Rubus procerus
Himalayan Blackberry
Armenian Blackberry
Giant Blackberry
Description

Rubus armeniacus is an arching woody shrub.  Its leaves remain on the plant for a long period of time and sometimes persist all winter long in mild climates.  The leaflets occur in groups of three or five and each resembles a large rose leaf.  The underside of each leaf is white.   The canes are thorny and may be as long as 10 meters.  The canes are biennial: first year canes are non-fruit bearing, the fruits being borne on the second year canes.  The thorns typically have a reddish colour later in the summer and may be as long as 20 mm.  The flowers are 5-peteled and vary from white to light pink in colour. The flowers occur in loose clusters and give rise to black fruits.  Each fruit is comprised of multiple drupes and these fruits are edible. Look for its large flowers with pale pink, broadly rounded petals and long stamens, combined with the white leaf undersides and for the large general stature of the plant.

Identification difficulty
Recording advice

Brambles are a difficult group.  Records for this species should be supported by at least a good series of photographs showing leaves (upper and under side) flowers, fruits and overall plant, together with a description of size, habit (straggling etc.) and the general type of area where it was found.

Habitat

Hedgerows and scrub.

When to see it

Flowers in summer are followed by the fruits as autumn approaches.

Life History

Perennial root system with biennial stems ("canes"). The canes will root upon touching the ground.

UK Status

Widespread in lowland Britain. This strongly invasive escape from cultivation (formerly known as R. procerus) has increased dramatically in its distribution over the last 50 years and is now common and widespread in all lowland areas of Britain.

VC55 Status

Infrequently recorded in Leicestershire and Rutland but this may be due to difficulty of identification.

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Leicestershire & Rutland Map

MAP KEY:

Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

UK Map