Rubus discolor - Weihe & Nees
Other English Common Names: Himalayan Blackberry
Other Common Names: Himalayan blackberry
Synonym(s): Rubus armeniacus Focke ;Rubus procerus P.J. Muell.
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Rubus discolor Weihe & Nees (TSN 24852)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.143930
Element Code: PDROS1K1Y0
Informal Taxonomy: Plants, Vascular - Flowering Plants - Rose Family
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Plantae Anthophyta Dicotyledoneae Rosales Rosaceae Rubus
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Concept Reference
Concept Reference: Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.
Concept Reference Code: B94KAR01HQUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Rubus discolor
Taxonomic Comments: FNA (vol. 9, 2014) expands the concept of Rubus ulmifolius to include R. discolor, while Kartesz (1994) treats them as distinct.
Conservation Status

NatureServe Status

Global Status: GNR
Global Status Last Changed: 22Mar1994
Rounded Global Status: GNR - Not Yet Ranked
Nation: United States
National Status: NNA
Nation: Canada
National Status: NNA (22Mar1994)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
United States Alabama (SNA), Arizona (SNA), Arkansas (SNA), California (SNA), Illinois (SNA), Kentucky (SNA), Massachusetts (SNR), Missouri (SNA), Montana (SNA), Nevada (SNA), New Jersey (SNA), New Mexico (SNR), Ohio (SNA), Oregon (SNA), Pennsylvania (SNA), Tennessee (SNA), Utah (SNA), Virginia (SNA), Washington (SNA)
Canada British Columbia (SNA), Ontario (SNA)

Other Statuses

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces
Color legend for Distribution Map
NOTE: The distribution shown may be incomplete, particularly for some rapidly spreading exotic species.

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States ALexotic, ARexotic, AZexotic, CAexotic, ILexotic, KYexotic, MA, MOexotic, MTexotic, NJexotic, NM, NVexotic, OHexotic, ORexotic, PAexotic, TNexotic, UTexotic, VAexotic, WAexotic
Canada BCexotic, ONexotic

Range Map
No map available.

Ecology & Life History Not yet assessed
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
Management Summary Not yet assessed
Population/Occurrence Delineation Not yet assessed
Population/Occurrence Viability
U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank)
Disclaimer: While I-Rank information is available over NatureServe Explorer, NatureServe is not actively developing or maintaining these data. Species with I-RANKs do not represent a random sample of species exotic in the United States; available assessments may be biased toward those species with higher-than-average impact.

I-Rank: Medium/Insignificant
Rounded I-Rank: Unknown
I-Rank Reasons Summary: Widespread but primarily a problem in the West (probably most common from western Washington south to southern California) and mostly establishing in low-quality disturbed habitats. Often found in wet areas and riparian infestations may be of conservation concern. Care should be taken to prevent infestation, as it can take several years to eradicate it.
Subrank I - Ecological Impact: Low/Insignificant
Subrank II - Current Distribution/Abundance: High/Low
Subrank III - Trend in Distribution/Abundance: Medium/Low
Subrank IV - Management Difficulty: Medium/Low
I-Rank Review Date: 18Apr2006
Evaluator: Fellows, M., rev. Maybury (2006)
Native anywhere in the U.S?
Native Range: Western Europe (Bossard et al. 2000).

Download "An Invasive Species Assessment Protocol: Evaluating Non-Native Plants for their Impact on Biodiversity". (PDF, 1.03MB)
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Screening Questions

S-1. Established outside cultivation as a non-native? YES
Comments: (Kartesz 1999).

S-2. Present in conservation areas or other native species habitat? Yes
Comments: (Bossard et al. 2000).

Subrank I - Ecological Impact: Low/Insignificant

1. Impact on Ecosystem Processes and System-wide Parameters:Low significance/Insignificant
Comments: A large quantity of litter develops in older thickets (Bossard et al. 2000) but otherwise no significant abiotic alterations noted.

2. Impact on Ecological Community Structure:Medium/Low significance
Comments: Forms impenetrable thickets (Bossard et al. 2000), presumably in areas where such dense vegetation would not otherwise exist.

3. Impact on Ecological Community Composition:Low significance
Comments: Strong competitor in old fields and pasture lands, displacing native vegetation (Bossard et al. 2000, Hoshovski 2001). The impenetrable thickets presumably shade out other vegetation.

4. Impact on Individual Native Plant or Animal Species:Low significance
Comments: Dense thickets may impede access to water for medium-and large-sized animals (Hoshovski 2001).

5. Conservation Significance of the Communities and Native Species Threatened:Low significance
Comments: Established in wastelands, pastures and forest plantations, roadsides, creak gullies, river flats, fence lines, right-of-way corridors (Bossard et al. 2000). Established on at least two TNC preserves (Hoshovsky 2001). Some riparian areas (where scour/innundation provide the disturbance needed for establishment) may be of conservation concern.

Subrank II. Current Distribution and Abundance: High/Low

6. Current Range Size in Nation:High/Moderate significance
Comments: Western U.S. (including HI) from ID to NM; disjunct in eastern U.S. (approximately 1/2 of the states) (Kartesz 1999).

7. Proportion of Current Range Where the Species is Negatively Impacting Biodiversity:Medium/Low significance
Comments: Some negative impacts assumed at least in the California-to-western Oregon and Washington area, where this species is quite common (Hitchcock and Cronquist 1973; Hickman 1993; J. Kartesz, unpublished 2005 draft distribution data).

8. Proportion of Nation's Biogeographic Units Invaded:High/Moderate significance
Comments: Potentially in c. 39 ecoreigions - inferred from Kartesz (1999) and TNC (2001).

9. Diversity of Habitats or Ecological Systems Invaded in Nation:Low significance
Comments: Colonizes disturbed areas, especially wet places: wastelands, pastures and forest plantations, roadsides, creak gullies, river flats, fence lines, right-of-way corridors (Bossard et al. 2000).

Subrank III. Trend in Distribution and Abundance: Medium/Low

10. Current Trend in Total Range within Nation:Medium/Low significance
Comments: Unknown but presumed not rapidly expanding nor declining.

11. Proportion of Potential Range Currently Occupied:Unknown

12. Long-distance Dispersal Potential within Nation:High/Moderate significance
Comments: Seeds are dispersed by mammals and birds (Bossard et al. 2000). Originially introduced in cultivation in CA (c. 1885), then introduced to OH in 1945 (Bossard et al. 2000). Seeds can be distributed by streams and rivers (Bossard et al. 2000).

13. Local Range Expansion or Change in Abundance:Medium/Low significance
Comments: Unknown but assumed not rapidly increasing (doubling in area in 10 years) nor stable (given increases in disturbance in general).

14. Inherent Ability to Invade Conservation Areas and Other Native Species Habitats:Low significance
Comments: Common in riparian areas where periodic inundation maintains an early seral community (Bossard et al. 2000). Seedlings require sunlight, and are not expected to establish in mature communities (Bossard et al. 2000). R. discolor establishment depends on the availability of open habitats such as degraded pastures, eroded soils along streams, lands formerly cultivated; in Australia seedlings receiving less than 44 percent of full sunlight did not survive (Amor 1974, as cited in Hoshovski 2001).

15. Similar Habitats Invaded Elsewhere:Low significance
Comments: ON and BC, Canada (Kartesz 1999). Australia (Hoshovski 2001).

16. Reproductive Characteristics:High/Moderate significance
Comments: Seeds heavily, 7,000 - 13,000 seeds/square meter (Bossard et al. 2000). Will root at cane tips (Bossard et al. 2000). Several modes of fruit-producing asexual reproduction increases seed set and contributes to agressive spread (Bossard et al. 2000). Inferential evidence for long-lived seed bank (Bossard et al. 2000). "In less than 2 years a cane cutting can produce a thicket sixteen feet (5 m) in diameter" (Bossard et al. 2000).

Subrank IV. General Management Difficulty: Medium/Low

17. General Management Difficulty:Moderate significance
Comments: Mechanical removal or burning (Bossard et al. 2000). Remove whole rootstock (Bossard et al. 2000). Herbicides available (Bossard et al. 2000).

18. Minimum Time Commitment:Medium/Low significance
Comments: Requires several cutting treatments to exhaust carbohydrate stores (Bossard et al. 2000).

19. Impacts of Management on Native Species:Low significance/Insignificant
Comments: Species tends to form monoculture, low impacts on natives suspected.

20. Accessibility of Invaded Areas:Unknown
Comments: Biological control will not occur because of risk to economically importatnt Rubus spp. crops (Bossard et al. 2000).

Botanical data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs), The North Carolina Botanical Garden, and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

  • Bossard, C.C., J.M. Randall, and M. Hoshovsky. (eds.) 2000. Invasive Plants of California's Wildlands. University of California Press, Berkeley, CA.

  • Hickman, J. C., ed. 1993. The Jepson manual: Higher plants of California. University of California Press, Berkeley, CA. 1400 pp.

  • Hitchcock, C.L., and A. Cronquist. 1973. Flora of the Pacific Northwest: An Illustrated Manual. University of Washington Press, Seattle, Washington. 730 pp.

  • Hoshovski, M. 1989. Element stewardship abstract for Rubus discolor, (Rubus procerus). The Nature Conservancy, Arlington, VA.

  • Kartesz, J. T. 1991. Synonym names from 1991 checklist, as extracted by Larry Morse, TNC, June 1991.

  • Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.

  • Kartesz, J.T. 1999. A synonymized checklist and atlas with biological attributes for the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. First edition. In: Kartesz, J.T., and C.A. Meacham. Synthesis of the North American Flora, Version 1.0. North Carolina Botanical Garden, Chapel Hill, N.C.

  • The Nature Conservancy. 2001. Map: TNC Ecoregions of the United States. Modification of Bailey Ecoregions. Online . Accessed May 2003.

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