July 31, 2021
We see blackberry brambles growing along country roads in Marin. We may also see them up close in our neighbor’s unkempt yard. The native species is Rubus ursinus. The non-native and invasive species is Himalaya berry, Rubus armeniacus. It is rated by the California Invasive Plant Council as having high impact on native ecosystems. If left untended, Himalaya berry may form impenetrable thickets.
Do you want to know how to tell them apart? Our native blackberry has three leaflets, each leaflet with a green underside. The Himalaya berry may have 3-5 leaflets, each with a white underside. Both have stems with prickles.
John Thomas Howell in “Marin Flora” sums it up: “As objectionable as this Eurasian plant is, its blackberries are delicious and are sought after for jams and jellies.”