Wildlife, Animals, and Plants
BOTANICAL AND ECOLOGICAL CHARACTERISTICS
SPECIES: Rubus discolor | Himalayan Blackberry
GENERAL BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS :
The Himalayan blackberry is a robust, clambering or sprawling, evergreen
shrub which grows up to 9.8 feet (3 m) in height [25,31]. Leaves are
pinnately to palmately compound, with three to five broad leaflets
[25,31]. Mature leaves are green and glaucous above but tomentose
Stems of most blackberries are biennial. Sterile first-year stems, or
primocanes, develop from buds at or below the ground surface and bear
only leaves . During the second year, lateral branches, known as
floricanes, develop in the axils of the primocanes, and produce both
leaves and flowers .
Perfect flowers are borne in clusters of 3 to 20 [24,31]. Flowers are
most commonly white, but rose or reddish flowers also occur [24,31].
Ripe fruit, commonly referred to as "berries," are soft, shiny black and
composed of an aggregate of large succulent drupelets [3,25].
RAUNKIAER LIFE FORM :
REGENERATION PROCESSES :
The Himalayan blackberry is capable of extensive and vigorous vegetative
regeneration . Sexual reproduction may also be important.
Reproductive versatility is well represented in the Rubus genus, with
sexual reproduction, parthenogenesis (development of the egg without
fertilization), pseudogamy (a form of apomixis in which pollination is
required), and parthenocarpy (production of fruit without
fertilization), occurring widely . The following types of
reproduction have been documented in blackberries: (1) sexual
reproduction, (2) nonreduction at meiosis on the female, male, or both
sides, (3) apomixis (seeds contain embryos of maternal, rather than
sexual origin) with segregation, (4) apomixis without segregation, and
(5) haploid parthenogenesis . These modes of asexual reproduction
contribute significantly to the aggressive, vigorous spread of
Vegetative regeneration: The mostly biennial stems of blackberries
typically develop from perennial rootstocks or creeping stems .
Most species within the Rubus genus are capable of sprouting vigorously
from root or stem suckers, or rooting stem tips . Although not
specifically documented for the Himalayan blackberry, a similar response
is probable given the plant's morphology and the speed at which
postdisturbance establishment and spread occurs. The Himalayan
blackberry is known to spread extensively by trailing stems which root
at the nodes . Rapid vegetative spread occurs even in the absence
Seed production: Most blackberries produce good seed crops nearly every
year . Immature fruit of the Himalayan blackberry is red and hard,
but at maturity, fruit becomes shiny black, soft, and succulent .
Individual drupelets form an aggregate up to 0.8 inches (2 cm) in length
[3,24]. Cleaned seed averages approximately 147,000 per pound
Germination: Blackberry seeds have a hard impermeable coat and a
dormant embryo . Consequently, germination is often slow. Most
blackberries require, as a minimum, warm stratification at 68 to 86
degrees F (20 to 30 degrees C) for 90 days, followed by cold
stratification at 36 to 41 degrees F (2 to 5 degrees C) for an
additional 90 days . These conditions are frequently encountered
naturally as seeds mature in summer and remain in the soil throughout
the cold winter months. Laboratory tests indicate that exposure to
sulfuric acid solutions or sodium hyperchlorite prior to cold
stratification can enhance germination .
Seedbanking: Seeds of most blackberries can remain viable when stored
in the soil for a period of at least several years . However, the
specific length of viability has not been documented for the Himalayan
Seed dispersal: Seeds of blackberries are readily dispersed by gravity
and by many species of birds and mammals. The large succulent fruits
are highly sought-after and, after they mature, rarely remain on the
plant for long . A hard seedcoat protects the embryo even when the
seeds are ingested. Evidence suggests that the action of avian gizzards
and exposure to mammalian digestive acids provide scarification which
may actually enhance germination .
SITE CHARACTERISTICS :
The Himalayan blackberry typically grows in open weedy sites, such as
along field margins, railroad right-of-ways, roadsides, and on abandoned
farms [6,14,31]. It is also common in riparian woodlands and intertidal
zones of central California [18,22,28,32].
Soils: Blackberries grow well on a variety of barren, infertile soil
types . These shrubs tolerate a wide range of soil pH and texture,
but do require adequate soil moisture . The Himalayan blackberry
appears to be tolerant of periodic flooding by brackish or fresh water
Elevation: Elevational ranges of the Himalayan blackberry have been
documented as follows for two western states [19,31]:
> 6,000 feet (1,829 m) in AZ
from 2,788 to 5,000 feet (850-1,525 m) in UT
SUCCESSIONAL STATUS :
Blackberries are generally most prevalent in early seral communities.
In the Northeast, blackberries are aggressive invaders in old field
communities . In the West, the introduced Himalayan blackberry
commonly occurs as an early seral species in relatively open disturbed
areas, such as along roadways or on abandoned homesteads . This
blackberry also grows in certain riparian areas of California where it
can apparently establish and persist despite periodic inundation by
fresh or brackish water . This periodic flooding can produce
relatively long-lived early seral communities conducive to the growth
and spread of blackberries. The Himalayan blackberry is one of the few
woody plants pioneering certain intertidal zones of the lower Sacramento
River . Little is known about the successional status of the
Himalayan blackberry in its native Europe.
SEASONAL DEVELOPMENT :
The Himalayan blackberry generally flowers from June to August [3,13].
Fruit ripens in August and September , with seed dispersal in the
Related categories for Species: Rubus discolor
| Himalayan Blackberry