Rubus rugosus Sm.

Rubus rugosus is a member of the Asian group of Rubus species.
Synonyms - R. moluccanus

Family: Rosaceae.


Rubus is from the Latin ruber meaning red and refers to the red immature berries.
Rugosus refers to.
Keriberry refers to

Other names:

Himalayan Blackberry because India is one of its native habitats.


Keriberry is a sprawling to climbing, thorny, perennial shrub with rounded, brown-hairy canes, tattered stipules and 5 lobed leaves that are lighter underneath. The white to pink flowers have 5 petals and a deeply lobed pink bract underneath. The fruits are black when ripe.


See the Weedy Blackberry and Rose key.



First leaves:


Alternate. Simple and 5(7) lobed.
Stipules - tattered (laciniate), persistent or deciduous, free.
Petiole - to 120 mm long.
Blade - 5-lobed or obscurely 7-lobed, 80-150 mm long, 70-90 mm wide, broadly ovate, Tip rounded. Edges regularly finely toothed (serrate), lobes rounded. Base deeply indented (cordate). Lower surface yellowish in contrast to upper green surface, densely hairy with yellow-brown non-glandular hairs, lamina obscured.


Primocanes scrambling, to 3 metres, obscurely-angled and densely covered with pale brownish non-glandular hairs. A white waxy covering not present with age. Prickles 2-4 mm long, usually straight, declined, not confined to the angles and there are about 20-30 per 5 cm length. Primocanes take root where they touch the ground.

Flower head:

Inflorescence is a compact terminal leafy panicle. Leaves below inflorescence similar to those at base of cane but smaller, grading into palmatifid and then entire bracts. Main axis (rachis) densely covered with pale brownish non-glandular hairs and extending on to flower stalks (pedicels). There is deeply lobed pink bract at base of each flower.


White or pink, bisexual with 5 petals and on hairy stalks (pedicels) 20 mm long.
Ovary - Young carpels glabrous or hairy (pubescent).
Sepals - Thornless, with dense non glandular hairs externally, remaining appressed around the developing fruit and perhaps spreading when ripe, but not reflexed, either with toothed margin or more or less entire, tip pointed (apex acute).
Petals - 5, white or pink, 6 mm long x 5 mm wide, sub-orbicular to broadly ovate, tip rounded or sometimes notched.
Stamens - Many.
Anthers -


Ripening black.



Key Characters:

Leaves simple, 5(7) lobed.
Primocane obscurely angled, densely pubescent with intertwined dirty brown hairs more or less obscuring prickles.
Stipules laciniate.
Upper and lower leaf surfaces markedly differing in colour, lower densely felted, upper green.
Inflorescence a short terminal panicle, with deeply lobed pink bract at base of each flower.
Sepals remaining upturned about fruit.
5 white or pink petals.
Fruit ripening black.
Adapted from Robyn and Bill Barker and USDA.


Life cycle:



Tolerates full sun to full shade but plants grow slowly in full shade.


By seed and stem layering or tip rooting.

Flowering times:

October to January in WA.

Seed Biology and Germination:

Seed short lived in the soil.

Vegetative Propagules:

Hybrids and Varieties:


Population Dynamics and Dispersal:

Dumping of garden refuse and intentional plantings are the main methods of dispersal.
Seedling survival is usually low.

Origin and History:

Native to Sri Lanka, India and Malaysia.


Courtesy Australia's Virtual Herbarium.
New Zealand.
Two infestations were found near Margaret River in WA in 2011 and have been eradicated.


Water courses and damp areas.
Recorded in Thailand, Nepal, India, Sri Lanka, Burma, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malay Peninsula on forest margins between 700 - 1,300 metres (editors Smitin and & Larsen). Occasional in semi-evergreen forests (Saldanha 1985). Found under slight shade, in bushy thickets, along edges of jungles or in dense mossy forests. In Sri Lanka, confined to upper montane zone above 2,000 m altitude. (Dassanayake & Fosberg editors 1980).


Temperate, humid and sub-humid regions with an annual rainfall greater than 500 mm.
Moderate frost tolerance.
Intolerant of drought and waterlogging.


Free draining sands to clay loams.

Plant Associations:



Berries are picked for food, preserves, jam, pies, wine, liqueurs.
Fruit is rich in vitamin C.
Widely cultivated since 1876.


Listed as an environmental weed of the North Coast of NSW.
Minor weed of disturbed areas elsewhere. Sparingly naturalised.
A fungal disease of tea plants has been recorded on this plant, described as a minor root rot in South India (AFFA, 2004).


Not recorded as toxic.


Management and Control:

Grazing provides control.
Seedlings rarely establish in dense pasture.
Control with herbicides is usually the most cost effective. Metsulfuron and triclopyr plus picloram are expected to be effective. Glyphosate can be used in home gardens or other sensitive areas.
Basal bark applications using Access® plus diesel can be used where canes are removed mechanically.
In Pine plantations hexazinone can be used.
Low volume spraying is usually effective providing the amount of active ingredient applied per bush is kept constant.
For high volume spraying use 1 litre of mix for each 2.5 cubic metres of Keriberry bush (or 2.5 square metres of low lying bushes). This is equivalent to about 4000 L/ha of spray mix being applied.
In large infestations, consider using the cheaper metsulfuron for a year or two to reduce the size of the infestation then follow up with the more effective and costly triclopyr + picloram herbicides.


Eradication strategies:

3 annual, summer applications of 1 L of Grazon® plus 250 mL of Pulse® Penetrant in 100 L of water is expected to provide eradication on most sites. Replant native species after control has been achieved.
On large infestations, 10 g metsulfuron(600g/kg) plus 250 mL Pulse® Penetrant in 100 L water, applied in summer when the plant is actively growing, provides a cheaper option to reduce the size of the infestation before Grazon® is used.

Herbicide resistance:

None reported.

Biological Control:

Biological control agents introduced for European Blackberry control have little effect on Keriberry.

Related plants:

There are no native Rubus species in WA.
Blackberry (Rubus anglocandicans = Rubus discolor = Rubus procerus, Rubus fruticosus, Rubus ulmifolius)
Blackberry (Rubus anglocandicans) is the main weedy variety in WA. Its main flowering is in December to January and it has white flowers (though it may be pinkish in the bud). The leaves tend to be whitish on the lower surface.
Boysenberry is a cross between a Raspberry (Rubus idaeus), a Blackberry (Rubus fruticosus), an American Dewberry (Rubus aboriginum) and a Loganberry (Rubus × loganobaccus). It has narrow straight thorns.
California Dewberry (Rubus ursinus) is not naturalised in Australia.
Cutleaf Blackberry (Rubus laciniatus ssp. laciniatus) has cut leaf - see diagram.
Dewberry (Rubus roribaccus) is in NSW and Victoria.
Elmleaf Blackberry (Rubus ulmifolius) has pinkish petals and smaller leaves than R. anglocandicans. Some varieties are thornless.
Keriberry (Rubus rugosus) has leaves that are green on top and whitish underneath and roundish canes covered in brown hairs.
Kittatinny Blackberry (Rubus bellobatus)
Loganberry (Rubus loganobaccus, Rubus x loganobaccus) has narrow straight thorns and usually flowers later than blackberry.
Mountain Raspberry (Rubus gunnianus)
Native Raspberry (Rubus hillii = Rubus moluccanus var. trilobus A.R.Bean) is a native of the east coast of Australia and has simple palmately lobed leaves
that tend to be green on the upper an lower surfaces. The flowers are white with no pink tinges there are glandular hairs on the canes that look like red dots under a hand lens.
Plains or Bundy (American) Blackberry (Rubus laudatus) flowers in September to November with fruit in December - somewhat earlier than Raspberry (Rubus idaeus)
Rose-leaved Bramble (Rubus rosifolius) is a native plant of the east coast of Australia.
Thimbleberry (Rubus parvifolius, Rubus rosifolius) is a native plant of the east coast of Australia and Tasmania. It has almost stalkless leaflets with the upper side being green and the underside almost white. The flowers are pink to red flowers on 2-3 cm stalks.
Wineberry (Rubus phoenicolasius)
Yellow Raspberry (Rubus ellipticus)
Rubus alceifolius
Rubus chloocladus
Rubus cissburiensis
Rubus discolor = Rubus procerus is not in Australia but the older literature refers to R. anglocandicans as R. discolor in Western Australia and R. procerus in the eastern states.
Rubus koehleri
Rubus leightonii
Rubus odoratus is similar to Thimbleberry and occurs in SA and Tasmania.
Rubus polyanthemus
Rubus pyramidalis
Rubus radula
Rubus rosaceus
Rubus selmeri = R. laciniatus
Rubus vestitus

Apple (Pirus malus), Pear (Pirus communis), Quince (Cydonia vulgaris), Loquat (Eriobotrya japonica), Plum (Prunus domestica), Apricot (Prunus armeniaca), Almond (Prunus amygdalus), Peach (Prunus persica) and Strawberry (Fragaria vesca) are all in the same family as Raspberry.

Plants of similar appearance:

See the Weedy Blackberry and Rose key.
Climbing Roses.


Barker, Robyn and Barker, Bill (2005). Blackberry. An identification tool to introduced and native Rubus in Australia. Edition 1.00. State Herbarium of South Australia.

Hussey, B.M.J., Keighery, G.J., Cousens, R.D., Dodd, J. and Lloyd, S.G. (2007). Western Weeds. A guide to the weeds of Western Australia. (Second Edition). Plant Protection Society of Western Australia, Perth, Western Australia. P228.

Paczkowska, G. and Chapman, A. (2000). The Western Australia flora: a descriptive catalogue. (Wildflower Society of Western Australia (Inc), the Western Australian Herbarium, CALM and the Botanic Gardens & Parks Authority). P513.


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