Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Datasheet

Rubus racemosus
(black raspberry)

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Datasheet

Rubus racemosus (black raspberry)

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 27 September 2018
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Rubus racemosus
  • Preferred Common Name
  • black raspberry
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Plantae
  •     Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •       Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •         Class: Dicotyledonae
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • R. racemosus is a fast-growing shrub occasionally planted as an ornamental and for its edible fruits. At present, this species has been listed as invasive only in Jamaica, where it is principally invading areas...

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Identity

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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Rubus racemosus Roxb.

Preferred Common Name

  • black raspberry

International Common Names

  • English: Nilgiri blackberry

Local Common Names

  • India: sheetthi

Summary of Invasiveness

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R. racemosus is a fast-growing shrub occasionally planted as an ornamental and for its edible fruits. At present, this species has been listed as invasive only in Jamaica, where it is principally invading areas in montane rainforests in the Blue Mountains region. In Jamaica, R. racemosus grows vigorously and fruits abundantly forming “impenetrable thickets” that out-compete and displace native vegetation and impede the movement of native wildlife (Adams, 1972; Goodland and Healey, 1996; IABIN, 2014). 

Taxonomic Tree

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  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Plantae
  •         Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •             Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •                 Class: Dicotyledonae
  •                     Order: Rosales
  •                         Family: Rosaceae
  •                             Genus: Rubus
  •                                 Species: Rubus racemosus

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

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Rosaceae is a family of flowering plants including over 100 genera and about 4800 species distributed worldwide, but especially abundant in temperate regions of the northern hemisphere (Stevens, 2012; The Plant List, 2013). The genus Rubus comprises nearly 1500 species accepted by The Plant List (2013). Species are shrubs or subshrubs, deciduous, rarely evergreen or semievergreen, sometimes perennial creeping dwarf herbs (Stevens, 2012; Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2014).

Rubus racemosus Roxb. is an accepted name on Indian Biodiversity and USDA-ARS (2014), while the Plant List (2013), lists Rubus racemosus Genev. as an unresolved name.

Description

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R. racemosus is a deciduous shrub; tender parts glandular; prickles recurved. Leaves odd-pinnate, to 12(16) x 8(10) cm, chartaceous; margin serrate; petiole to 5(7) cm; stipules adnate to petiole, to 6 mm, persistent; terminal leaflet ovate, acute, to 8 x 6 cm, often sublobulate; laterals ovate-lanceolate, 7 x 3.5 cm. Inflorescence axillary, few-flowered; peduncle 2 cm. Flowers 1 cm wide; pedicel to 1 cm; bracts subulate, 6 mm. Calyx-tube shallowly cup-shaped, with glandular hairs; lobes 5, ovate-acuminate. Petals 5, red, longer than sepals. Stamens numerous. Ovary glabrous; ovule 1. Fruits globose, 1 cm wide, purple (India Biodiversity, 2014). 

Distribution

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R. racemosus is native to India, where it is endemic to the Southern Western Ghats (i.e., Nilgiri and Pulney Hills) (India Biodiversity, 2014). It is now also naturalized in Jamaica (Adams, 1974; Acevedo-Rodriguez and Strong, 2012).

Distribution Table

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The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.

Continent/Country/RegionDistributionLast ReportedOriginFirst ReportedInvasiveReferenceNotes

Asia

IndiaPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-KeralaPresentNativeIndia Biodiversity, 2014Malapuram, Palakkad
-Tamil NaduPresentNativeIndia Biodiversity, 2014Dindigul, Nilgiri

Central America and Caribbean

JamaicaPresentIntroduced Invasive IABIN, 2014

History of Introduction and Spread

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R. racemosus is occasionally planted as an ornamental and for its edible fruits. In Jamaica, it was probably introduced in the late 1800s. By 1893, it was reported as a “fruit plant” that grows vigorously on the island and that “once planted it requires little or no cultivation care” (Fawcett, 1893). 

Risk of Introduction

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Although R. racemosus has been apparently introduced only in Jamaica, this species has the capability to colonize similar montane and rain forests in tropical and subtropical regions. R. racemosus spreads by seeds which can be dispersed by frugivorous birds and locally from underground shoots. 

Habitat

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Within its native distribution range, R. racemosus grows in semi-evergreen forests (India Biodiversity, 2014). In Jamaica, it grows in montane forests, rainforests and disturbed sites in wet areas (Adams, 1972; Goodland and Healey, 1996; IABIN, 2014). 

Habitat List

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CategorySub-CategoryHabitatPresenceStatus
Terrestrial
Terrestrial – ManagedManaged forests, plantations and orchards Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Managed forests, plantations and orchards Present, no further details Natural
Managed forests, plantations and orchards Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Disturbed areas Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Disturbed areas Present, no further details Natural
Rail / roadsides Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Rail / roadsides Present, no further details Natural
Terrestrial ‑ Natural / Semi-naturalNatural forests Present, no further details Natural
Natural grasslands Present, no further details Natural

Biology and Ecology

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Genetics

The chromosome number reported for R. racemosus is 2n = 14 (Thompson, 1997).

Physiology and Phenology

In India, R. racemosus has been recorded flowering and fruiting from December to May (India Biodiversity, 2014).

Climate

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ClimateStatusDescriptionRemark
As - Tropical savanna climate with dry summer Preferred < 60mm precipitation driest month (in summer) and < (100 - [total annual precipitation{mm}/25])
Aw - Tropical wet and dry savanna climate Preferred < 60mm precipitation driest month (in winter) and < (100 - [total annual precipitation{mm}/25])

Air Temperature

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Parameter Lower limit Upper limit
Mean annual temperature (ºC) 20

Rainfall

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ParameterLower limitUpper limitDescription
Mean annual rainfall8002000mm; lower/upper limits

Means of Movement and Dispersal

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R. racemosus spreads by seeds and by locally from underground shoots. Seeds can be easily dispersed by frugivorous birds and other animals. It is also dispersed by humans who consume and commercialize its edible fruits (Adams, 1972; Lin, 2012; IABIN, 2014; India Biodiversity, 2014). 

Impact Summary

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CategoryImpact
Cultural/amenity Positive and negative
Economic/livelihood Positive and negative
Environment (generally) Positive and negative
Human health Positive

Environmental Impact

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R. racemosus is a fast-growing shrub listed as invasive in Jamaica. On this island, it grows and fruits vigorously, forming impenetrable dense thickets that out-compete native vegetation, disrupt natural successional processes, and impede the movement of native wildlife. This species is invading disturbed and undisturbed areas principally in montane rainforests in the Blue Mountains (Adams, 1972; Goodland and Healey, 1996; IABIN, 2014). 

Risk and Impact Factors

Top of page Invasiveness
  • Proved invasive outside its native range
  • Is a habitat generalist
  • Tolerates, or benefits from, cultivation, browsing pressure, mutilation, fire etc
  • Pioneering in disturbed areas
  • Highly mobile locally
  • Benefits from human association (i.e. it is a human commensal)
  • Long lived
  • Fast growing
  • Has high reproductive potential
  • Reproduces asexually
Impact outcomes
  • Damaged ecosystem services
  • Ecosystem change/ habitat alteration
  • Modification of successional patterns
  • Monoculture formation
  • Reduced native biodiversity
Impact mechanisms
  • Competition - monopolizing resources
  • Competition - smothering
  • Hybridization
  • Rapid growth
  • Rooting
  • Produces spines, thorns or burrs
Likelihood of entry/control
  • Highly likely to be transported internationally deliberately

Uses

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R. racemosus is planted as an ornamental, for its edible fruits, and to be used as a medicinal herb (Lin, 2012; Sharmila et al., 2014). In India, it is used in traditional medicine as an astringent, muscle relaxant, and anticonvulsant. A decoction of the root is useful for relaxed bowels and dysentery (Kumar and Vaidhyalingam, 2010). 

References

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Acevedo-Rodríguez P; Strong MT, 2012. Catalogue of the Seed Plants of the West Indies. Smithsonian Contributions to Botany, 98:1192 pp. Washington DC, USA: Smithsonian Institution. http://botany.si.edu/Antilles/WestIndies/catalog.htm

Adams CD, 1972. Flowering plants of Jamaica. Mona, Jamaica: University of the West Indies, 848 pp.

Fawcett W, 1893. Bulletin of the Botanical Department, Jamaica. Report of the Director of Public Gardens and plantations for the year ended. Kingston, Jamaica: Government Printing Office.

Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2014. Flora of China. St. Louis, Missouri and Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA: Missouri Botanical Garden and Harvard University Herbaria. http://www.efloras.org/flora_page.aspx?flora_id=2

Goodland T; Healey JR, 1996. The invasion of Jamaican rainforests by the Australian tree Pittosporum undulatum [ed. by University of Wales]., 54. www.bangor.uk/~afs101/iwpt/welcome

IABIN, 2014. List of Alien Invasive Species occurring in Jamaica. The United States Node of the Inter-American Biodiversity Information Net (IABIN). http://www.iabin-us.org/projects/i3n/i3n_documents/catalogs/catalog_jamaica.html

India Biodiversity, 2014. Online Portal of India Biodiversity. http://indiabiodiversity.org/species/list

Kumar PR; Vaidhyalingam V, 2010. Antibacterial and antifungal activity of aerial parts of Rubus racemsosus. Der Pharmacia Lettre, 2(6):16-20. http://scholarsresearchlibrary.com/DPL-vol2-iss6/DPL-2010-2-6-16-20.pdf

Lim TK, 2012. Edible medical and non-medical plants. Volume 4: Fruits. New York, USA: Springer, 1009 pp.

Sharmila S; Kalaichelvi K; Rajeswari M; Anjanadevi N, 2014. Studies on the folklore medicinal uses of some indigenous plants among the tribes of Thiashola, Manjoor, Nilgiris South Division, Western Ghats. International Journal of Plant, Animal and Environmental Sciences, 4(3):14-22. http://www.ijpaes.com/admin/php/uploads/588_pdf.pdf

Stevens PF, 2012. Angiosperm Phylogeny Website. http://www.mobot.org/MOBOT/research/APweb/

The Plant List, 2013. The Plant List: a working list of all plant species. Version 1.1. London, UK: Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. http://www.theplantlist.org

Thompson MM, 1997. Survey of chromosome numbers in Rubus (Rosaceae: Rosoideae). Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden, 84(1):128-164.

USDA-ARS, 2014. Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Online Database. Beltsville, Maryland, USA: National Germplasm Resources Laboratory. https://npgsweb.ars-grin.gov/gringlobal/taxon/taxonomysearch.aspx

Contributors

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30/04/15 Original text by:

Julissa Rojas-Sandoval, Department of Botany-Smithsonian NMNH, Washington DC, USA

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