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plant in flower (Photo: John M. Randall, The Nature Conservancy, Bugwood.org)
plant in flower and fruit (Photo: Forest & Kim Starr, Starr Environmental, Bugwood.org)
plant in fruit (Photo: John Mauremootoo, CC BY-NC)
seeds (Photo: Julia Scher, USDA APHIS PPQ, Bugwood.org)
Rubus rosifolius Sm. Ex Baker
Rubus roseasifolius Sm.; Rubus commersonnii Poir.; Rubus coronarius; Rubus eustephanos var. coronarius; Rubus rosaefolius Smith; Rubus rosifolius Smith var. coronarius Sims; Rubus rosifolius var. commersonii; Rubus rosifolius var. rosifolius
The Himalayas, East Asia and eastern Australia.
Rubus rosifolius is considered to be naturalised in parts of Kenya and invasive in Tanzania (Tropical Biology Association 2010). (Global Invasive Species Database). In Kenya, R. rosifolius has been recorded in highlands Aberdares, Machakos and Nairobi. The editors are not aware of records of the presence of R. rosifolius in Uganda, though this does not necessarily mean that it is absent from this country.
This is garden ornamental that is spreading along stream banks at 1400-1700 m altitude in Aberdares, Machakos and Nairobi. This species invades savanna, coastal bush, disturbed grass land, forest margins, roadsides and riverbanks. Rubus rosifolius is moderately shade and drought intolerant and prefers moist fertile soil and colonises disturbed sites and forest gaps.
The stems are hairy with a few prickles.
Flowers are hermaphrodite and are pollinated by insects, in particular honey bees (Apis mellifera L.).
R. rosifolius fruits profusely. The fruit is a scarlet-red drupe, about 10-20 mm long and rather juicy and it easily separates from the receptacle. Plants in habitats which are moist all year round produce fruit all year.
Rubus rosifolius reproduces by seed which is eaten by birds, people and other mammals. In addition, R. rosifolius spreads vegetatively via suckers and stems root whenever they come into contact with moist soil. The seeds of R. rosifolius are said to remain viable in the soil for many years.
Other Rubus species but Rubus rosifolius is more similar to:
Rubus rosifolius fruits are edible and the plant has medicinal properties.
Rubus rosifolius can invade the understory of rainforests, forming dense thickets when adequate sunlight is available, overcrowding and outcompeting native plants. It is also able to climb using hooks on its stems and prickles on the leaves.
R. rosifolius has been included in the Global Invasive Species Database (GISD 2010).
The precise management measures adopted for any plant invasion will depend upon factors such as the terrain, the cost and availability of labour, the severity of the infestation and the presence of other invasive species. Some components of an integrated management approach are introduced below.
The best form of invasive species management is prevention. If prevention is no longer possible, it is best to treat the weed infestations when they are small to prevent them from establishing (early detection and rapid response). Controlling the weed before it seeds will reduce future problems. Control is generally best applied to the least infested areas before dense infestations are tackled. Consistent follow-up work is required for sustainable management.
Manual removal is possible for small infestations but care must be taken to remove the entire plant or regeneration from the roots is likely. Suitable herbicides including Glyphosate (Roundup) can be sprayed onto larger infestation. When using any herbicide always read the label first and follow all instructions and safety requirements. If in doubt consult an expert. Goat grazing can be used as a management tool.
The fungus Gymnoconia nitens can be used to control Rubus rosifolius but it can affect native Rubus species as well.
Not listed as a noxious weed by the state or governments in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda.
Gardner, D.E., Hodges, C.S., Killgore, E. and Anderson, R.C. (1997). An Evaluation of the Rust Fungus Gymnoconia nitens as a Potential Biological Control Agent for Alien Rubus Species in Hawaii. Biological Control 10, 151-158.
Henderson, L. (2001). Alien weeds and invasive plants. A complete guide to declared weeds and invaders in South Africa. Plant Protection Research Institute Handbook No. 12, 300pp. PPR, ARC South Africa.
Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER). Rubus rosifolius Sm., Rosaceae: plant threats to Pacific ecosystems. www.hear.org/pier/species/rubus_rosifolius.htm. Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry, Hawaii, USA. Accessed March 2011.
USDA Forest Service Rubus rosifolius online data sheet. www.fs.fed.us/global/iitf/pdf/shrubs/Rubus%20rosifolius.pdf. Accessed April 2010.
Agnes Lusweti, National Museums of Kenya; Emily Wabuyele, National Museums of Kenya, Paul Ssegawa, Makerere University; John Mauremootoo, BioNET-INTERNATIONAL Secretariat - UK.
This fact sheet is adapted from The Environmental Weeds of Australia by Sheldon Navie and Steve Adkins, Centre for Biological Information Technology, University of Queensland. We recognise the support from the National Museums of Kenya, Tropical Pesticides Research Institute (TPRI) - Tanzania and Makerere University, Uganda. This activity was undertaken as part of the BioNET-EAFRINET UVIMA Project (Taxonomy for Development in East Africa).
BioNET-EAFRINET Regional Coordinator: [email protected]